Sans Neymar, Brazil sails into Copa Quarters

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Santiago:  Brazil shrugged off the absence of suspended captain Neymar to reach the Copa America quarter-finals here Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Venezuela.Goals in each half from Paris Saint-Germain star Thiago Silva and Bundesliga-based striker Roberto Firmino clinched a win which ensured Brazil qualified for the last eight on top of Group C.

Venezuela’s goal came from Rayo Vallecano striker Nicolas Fedor in the 84th minute.Silva – who earlier celebrated finding the net with a dedication to Neymar – praised Brazil’s team effort.”The best thing today is we had a very cohesive team,” he said. “Football is played this way — as a team.

“If you are an individual player you can lose focus on the collective effort. Neymar is missed, he won’t play any more in this Copa America. We played for him but in a different way.”

Brazil will now face Group B runners-up Paraguay in the quarter-finals on Saturday. “It’s going to be a tough match,” said Silva of the 2011 finalists, who knocked Brazil out four years ago.

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