La Serena (Chile), June 24 (IANS) Brazil striker Roberto Firmino says his side is slowly inching its way to its best at the Copa America football tournament despite the loss of talismanic captain Neymar to a tournament-ending four-match ban.
Neymar was handed the penalty following his red card in the Group C 0-1 loss to Colombia.
“Of course we are sad because of his suspension and his exit, but the Selecao are looking better and better and we can achieve victories in the Copa America,” Firmino was quoted as saying by goal.com on Wednesday.
“The knockout fixtures will be the key ones. It will not be easy. All the South Americans are working hard, but our squad is getting stronger and stronger.”
Brazil scraped through to the quarter-finals by beating Venezuela 2-1 in their final group encounter with Robinho deputising for Neymar, and Firmino says the presence of the 31-year-old was a huge boost.
“Robinho is an example to us all, and he helped us a lot,” said Firmino.
“He had a great game and against Paraguay it will be no different. But we know it is a knockout game and we have to win.”
Brazil face Paraguay in Concepcion in Saturday’s fourth quarter-final, with the winners facing Argentina or Colombia in the semi-final.