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Neymar cuts a frustrated figure in the stands as he watches wasteful Brazil draw 0-0 at Copa América

<i>Buda Mendes/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Neymar (top left) looked exasperated at times watching the amount of chances Brazil missed on Monday.
Buda Mendes/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Neymar (top left) looked exasperated at times watching the amount of chances Brazil missed on Monday.

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Brazil endured a frustrating start to its Copa América campaign after it was held to a goalless draw against Costa Rica on Monday.

The Seleção dominated the group stage match with 73% possession and took a total of 19 shots, but failed to find the breakthrough at SoFi Stadium, California.

Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira was kept on high alert throughout the match but Brazil failed to hit the target on 12 occasions when presented with a chance to score.

At one point, the television cameras cut to Brazilian superstar Neymar in the crowd, who looked exasperated following another missed opportunity from his side. The forward is still recovering from a serious knee injury and will miss the entire tournament.

Brazil, though, did have the ball in the back of the net in the first half but Marquinhos’s header was ruled out after the video assistant referee (VAR) spotted an offside in the buildup.

Lucas Paquetá arguably came closest to finding the breakthrough after the midfielder struck the post with a brilliant second half strike – the 26-year-old was also guilty of spurning more than one chance when it seemed easier to score.

“We played our game, we have to improve our finishing, myself in particular, so that we can win,” Paquetá said after the game, per BBC Sport.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica failed to register a single shot on target as it sat back for the majority of the match.

Somewhat surprisingly, Brazil’s talisman Vinícius Junior was kept reasonably quiet throughout the match, unable to inspire his side to victory like he has done so many times at club level for Real Madrid.

The Ballon d’Or contender was eventually substituted in the second half, a decision that Neymar seemed puzzled by in the stands. The injured star looked on in disbelief with his arms outstretched as Vinícius Jr. walked off the field.

Brazil finding its feet

Despite its history of being one of the greatest soccer nations in the world, the current Brazil squad is still finding its feet after a complicated transitional period.

The team recently suffered back-to-back World Cup qualifier set-backs for the first time in its history, before going on to lose a third. That third defeat – a 1-0 loss to Argentina at the Maracanã – was historic, too, marking the first time Brazil had ever lost a home World Cup qualifier.

Interim coach Fernando Diniz was sacked in January, less than halfway through his one-year deal, and replaced by journeyman manager Dorival Júnior, who oversaw narrow wins against England and Mexico and draws against the USA and Spain before this year’s Copa América.

But despite the team’s recent struggles, the pressure and expectation is still high back home, considering the level of attacking quality.

Brazil will have the chance to kickstart its tournament against Paraguay in its next Group D match, before facing a sterner test against Colombia.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Matias Grez contributed reporting.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

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