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Brazil still unable to get the best out of Vinicius

Brazil still unable to get the best out of Vinicius

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Brazil still unable to get the best out of Vinicius

 Brazil’s poor performance in their goalless draw against Costa Rica in their Copa America opener on Monday has dampened the enthusiasm surrounding their new manager and a revamped squad headlined by Vinicius Jr.

After a gritty 1-0 win over England at Wembley and a hard-fought draw 3-3 with Spain at the Bernabeu earlier this year, fans were optimistic that Brazil had turned a corner under Dorival Jr but his side had no answers to Costa Rica’s five-man defence in California.

As the clock ticked down and the five-time world champions’ frustrations grew, Dorival decided to make his first two substitutions in the 70th minute.

His decision to take Vinicius out of the game came as a huge surprise.

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Even Brazil talisman Neymar, who is recovering from a serious knee injury but was at the stadium as a fan, could not hide his dismay.

The broadcast showed his reaction in the stands when the stadium speaker announced the change, exclaiming “Vini?” repeatedly, with his arms open, looking at his friends in disbelief.

Vinicius arrived at the Copa America as a strong contender to win the Ballon d’Or after a hugely successful season with LaLiga winners Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old netted their second goal against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final as Real claimed a record-extending 15th European crown.

The jet-heeled forward torments defences and always seems to come to the fore when the pressure is at its highest, scoring 24 goals for his club last season.

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He was rarely substituted by Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, who often said Vinicius was at his most dangerous late on in games and gave the forward the freedom to roam across the front line.

Things are different with Brazil.

Vinicius is deployed as more of an orthodox forward wide on the left and has scored only three goals in 31 games for Brazil.
Dorival’s decision to take him off on Monday brought back memories of the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, when then manager Tite also substituted Vinicius early in the second-half against Croatia, a game Brazil ended up losing on penalties.

On Monday, Vinicius struggled to make an impact from the left wing and exited the game without a shot on target.
Dorival said he tried moving Vinicius around before replacing him with 17-year-old forward Endrick.

“We tried with him on the wing and we didn’t succeed. Then put him inside and we couldn’t find a way through either … he was very well marked,” Dorival said.

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“We had to find a solution, I was trying to make a change. We tried various alternatives, several situations were created, but in the end we were unsuccessful with our finishing.”

The challenge for Dorival in Brazil’s upcoming games will be finding a way to balance their attack without sacrificing his best player. 

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

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Rakitic joins Hajduk Split after leaving Al-Shabab

Former Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is joining Hajduk Split after Saudi Pro League club Al-Shabab terminated his contract by mutual consent following a six-month spell.

The 36-year-old scored once in eight games after joining Al-Shabab in January 2024 as they finished eighth on 52 points.

“The club management agreed with the Croatian player Ivan Rakitic to terminate the contractual relationship between the two parties by mutual consent,” the Saudi club posted on the X social media platform.

Hajduk Split on Sunday announced the signing of the former Barcelona and Sevilla midfielder for one season with the option of an extra year in what will be his first campaign in Croatia.

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Rakitic, who was born in Switzerland, played 106 games for Croatia, scoring 15 goals, and helped the country reach the World Cup final in 2018. 

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Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

Croatia’s Vida retires from international football

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Croatia's Vida retires from international football

Croatia defender Domagoj Vida has retired from international soccer after 14 years in the national team, the Croatian Football Federation said on Sunday.

Vida, 35, made his international debut in May 2010 and has played 105 matches for Croatia. He was part of the Croatia side that reached the final of World Cup 2018 and finished third in World Cup 2022.

“It is an honour to wear the most beautiful jersey in the world once in your career,” Vida said in a statement.

“And when you do it 105 times, you play in seven major competitions … then you can just be infinitely grateful for such a privilege.”

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Former Bayer Leverkusen and Besiktas player Vida currently plays for Greek top-flight club AEK Athens. 

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

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Canada defender Collins to miss Paris 2024 soccer tournament through injury

Canada defender Sydney Collins will miss the Paris 2024 women’s soccer tournament after fracturing her left leg during a training game in her first match back after suffering a similar injury to her right leg earlier this year, Team Canada said on Saturday.

Gabrielle Carle will replace Collins in Canada’s Olympic squad, while Desiree Scott will take Carle’s spot as an alternate for the Tokyo 2020 gold medallists, it said.

Collins sustained the injury on Thursday during a closed-door training match against Nigeria, her first since fracturing her right leg in February.

“Our hearts go out to Sydney during this difficult time. She has worked incredibly hard to return in time for Paris 2024, and while this is a setback, we know she will come back stronger,” said women’s national team head coach Bev Priestman.

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“She will be with us in spirit every step of the way.

“With the depth and resilience of our roster, it’s a next-player-up mentality, and both Gabby and Desiree’s experience will be invaluable to our team’s success.”

Canada will begin the defence of their Olympic title on July 25 against Group A opponents New Zealand. 

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