Brazil coach Dunga insisted that the team would find a way to cope at the Copa America without inspirational captain and FC Barcelona star Neymar after his red card controversy against Colombia.
Tournament disciplinary chiefs are to announce Thursday the punishment for the FC Barcelona star who was sent off after appearing to aim a headbutt at Colombia goalscorer Jeison Murillo following a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday.
The predicted two-match suspension would rule him out of Brazil’s final group game against Venezuela and any quarter-final clash.
“We have played without Neymar before. We have to be ready,” Dunga said of the looming absence of the key player.
The coach said he would wait to see what punishment is inflicted but told a press conference after Wednesday’s match that he was already thinking of possible solutions.
“We are starting to think about how to play,” he said. “We played once without Neymar and now we will see the players we have.”
The FC Barcelona star was injured in Brazil’s World Cup quarter final win over Colombia last year and missed the semi-final in which his side collapsed to a 7-1 defeat by Germany.
“We have a whole group of players,” Dunga said. “Of course we wanted to be able to count on Neymar. We will have to find a way to replace him.”
Dunga and Neymar have been strongly critical of Chilean referee Enrique Osses over the sending off.
“Our players were often provoked,” Dunga said.
“In my view the rules are always used against me,” Neymar told Brazilian media, as he criticised Osses’ decision to caution him for a handball in the first half of the game.