Deja vu for Brazil ahead of Ecuador decider

CORDOBA - Holders Brazil are in the same position as they were four years ago in the Copa America - facing Ecuador in a decisive final group match to remain on course for the title.

Brazil meet the Ecuadoreans in Cordoba on Wednesday needing a win to be sure of remaining in the tournament. They are equal second with Paraguay who face surprise leaders Venezuela, two points clear, in Salta.

Four years ago in Venezuela, Brazil made a similarly poor start to the tournament, losing to Mexico before picking themselves up by beating Chile.

A 1-0 win over Ecuador with a goal by Robinho, one of the few survivors from the team that won the title, put them through in second place in the group.

Winning Group B would take Brazil back to La Plata where they were held 0-0 by Venezuela in their opening match, while finishing second would send them to Mendoza and they could also still go through as one of the two best third-placed teams.

Wherever they go, they will do so with some harsh words from captain Lucio ringing in their ears and hopefully forcing them to concentrate on the task in hand.

LUCIO LECTURE

Lucio, a World Cup winner in 2002, noted on Monday that Brazil required the utmost commitment, with his remarks no doubt directed mainly at the many young players in their first competitive matches for their country.

"The badge on the front of the shirt is more important than the name on the back," he told reporters.

Brazil would be in a worse position but for substitute striker Fred's last-gasp equaliser, laid on by young playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso, that salvaged a 2-2 draw with Paraguay.

Jadson, preferred to Robinho as a midfield link with Ganso, opened the scoring against Paraguay but coach Mano Menezes has not said if he will keep him in the side against Venezuela.

Much improved Venezuela, meanwhile, are poised to reach the last eight for the second time after doing so at home in 2007.

Paraguay will surely do what coach Gerardo Martino said after the draw with Brazil which is to be more incisive, especially as he feels that is an area where his team have made progress since the World Cup.

"We have to be a bit more daring, try to improve our finishing when we can... [but] aside from the draw, and a bit of annoyance about that, I'm happy with what we've been doing," the Argentine told reporters after Saturday's match in Cordoba.


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