Brazil will be without their undisputed leader and best player, Neymar, for their final game of the group stage and may lose him for a potential quarterfinal game at the 2015 Copa America too.
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Neymar, who was show both a yellow card for handball (his second of the group stage, earning him a one-game suspension itself) and a straight red for kicking the ball at an opposing player after the final whistle of Brazil’s 1-0 defeat to Colombia on Wednesday, will be suspended for one game and his case will be heard on Friday if the ban will be extended for another game, Copa America officials announced on Thursday.
Without Neymar, it’s completely fair to wonder now whether or not Braizil will even get out of the group. Without Neymar during the latter stages of the 2014 World Cup, they were extremely poor going forward and, when unable to mount any sort of attack themselves, were a total disaster defensively, as evidenced in Germany’s 7-1 thrashing in the semifinals.
Brazil face Venezuela in their final Group C game on Sunday, needing either a victory by a greater margin or identical score as that of Colombia over Peru to advance as group winners; or a draw, or victory that fails to keep Brazil ahead of Colombia on the second tiebreaker of goals scored (even on goal differential at 0) to advance as runners-up. To advance as one of two third-place finishers in the group stage, a number of other factors will come into play as the final round of group games kicks off on Friday.