It is no secret that Brazil's men's national soccer team is going through something of a lean period by its illustrious standards. Its last big tournament win was the 2013 Confederations Cup - and that tournament remains little more than a glorified series of exhibition games. Brazil's first World Cup semifinal since the 2002 edition (also the last time the team won a World Cup) was an epic humiliation on home soil. If CONMEBOL qualifying for the 2018 World Cup ended today, Brazil wouldn't be going to Russia (still a long way to go in that tournament, in fairness). And in Copa America, the team that made eight of 11 finals between 1983 and 2007- and won five of them - has been bounced out at the quarterfinal stage of the last two editions. And now it has gone one worse: group stage elimination at Copa America's special 100th birthday bash.
History suggests this lamentable run (for Brazil - a World Cup semifinal alone, even one lost 7-1, would be an historic moment for most of the world's soccer nations) won't last forever. But, for now, it is getting worse before it gets better.
The latest indignity: a 1-0 loss to Peru in Copa America Centenario's Group B that sends Brazil home to focus on its latest effort to win the men's Olympic soccer tournament.
Dunga did not send his strongest squad to Copa America, so the fact of early elimination is not a total surprise. But the manner of the team's elimination was a shock. In a game Brazil dominated by all the usual statistical measures, Peru was clinging on to the increasingly dwindling hope of nicking a goal and the win Los Incas needed to get themselves to the quarterfinals.
Then, in the 75th minute, Andy Polo got round the back line and crossed for Raul Ruidiaz to punch home.
Amazing. Clear handball. Given as a goal. pic.twitter.com/yCa2E2yJdC— amadí tídíane thiam (@amadoit_) June 13, 2016
Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/eN8cCw6NEw— amadí tídíane thiam (@amadoit_) June 13, 2016
Ironically, Elias had a similar opportunity in the closing minutes, but tried to glance the ball past the 'keeper in less controversial fashion - and failed.
Should have used his hand. pic.twitter.com/kS8wscWqKl— amadí tídíane thiam (@amadoit_) June 13, 2016
Peru will remind those lamenting the tournament's loss of a CONMEBOL heavyweight that it has finished third at the last two editions of Copa America.
And now Los Incas head to MetLife Stadium to play Colombia, in search of their third consecutive Copa America semifinal.