Copa América: Vinícius Júnior suspended for Brazil’s quarter-final clash with Uruguay

Copa América: Vinícius Júnior suspended for Brazil’s quarter-final clash with Uruguay

Brazil and Colombia went head-to-head on Tuesday night for the top spot in Group D. Victory for Brazil would see them top the group, but anything else ensures that Colombia claim first place and bag an easier tie in the quarter-finals.

Raphinha gave Brazil the lead in a feisty game that saw countless fouls, many of which concerned a raging battle between Raphinha and Deiver Machado on Brazil’s right flank. However, it was Vinicius Junior who found himself in disciplinary trouble, catching James Rodriguez with a stray arm in the opening stages. Vinicius was booked for the foul, his second of the tournament so far.

That second yellow card was enough to earn him a one-match suspension. Vini will therefore miss the quarter-final game for Brazil but will be back to play in the semi-final. Should Brazil make it that far?

Why isn’t Vinícius Júnior performing for Brazil?

Considering his incredible talents, Vini’s record of five goals in 33 Brazil games is a little underwhelming. The Real Madrid man is a real goal-scoring threat in La Liga but he hasn’t been able to replicate that for the national team.

“Every time I enter the field for the national team, I have three or four players marking me,” Vinicius said earlier this week, reflecting on his struggles with Brazil.

 “New coach, new players, everything takes time. Our fans want everything immediately done, but we’re going little by little. In the next game, I’m sure we’ll play much better because we now already understand what the competition will be like, what the pitch, and what the referees will be like. We know we can improve, we have to improve. I also know what I can improve, evolve, and do for our team.”

With Neymar out injured for the duration of this tournament the pressure has been on Vinicius - and, to a lesser extent, Rodrygo Goes - to replace Brazil’s record scorer. The results under new coach Dorival Junior have been mixed and Brazil have been uncharacteristically goal-shy in their opening two games of the tournament.