Santiago, June 17 (IANS) Brazil coach Dunga has dismissed claims of any lingering bitterness between Selecao captain Neymar and Colombia full-back Juan Zuniga ahead of the teams’ Copa America Group C match on Wednesday.
A clumsy challenge by Zuniga during last year’s World Cup left Neymar with a fractured vertebra, prematurely ending his tournament, reports Xinhua news agency.
The pair came face to face again in a friendly in Miami last year when they embraced and shared a joke before kickoff.
“They have already played against each other in the US without any problems,” Dunga said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“It was a normal tackle. He (Zuniga) was running at full pace and collided awkwardly with Neymar as he was walking backwards. He was unable to stop and committed the foul.”
Earlier, Zuniga, also played down suggestions of any ill-feeling with Brazil’s No. 10.
“Everything is fine with Neymar,” the 29-year-old said. “It’s in the past. This is a normal match. I hope people don’t make a big fuss about it.”
Neymar almost single-handedly orchestrated Brazil’s 2-1 victory over Peru in their opening Copa America match on Sunday. The 23-year-old headed in his team’s first goal before providing a deft through ball for Douglas Costa’s injury-time winner.