Luis Garrido and Philippe Coutinho - The Footballing World

Coutinho ready to step up

Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho is ready to step in for the suspended winger Neymar when his side continue their quest for a quarter-final spot at the South American Copa America in Sunday’s group stage fixture with Venezuela.

With Barcelona forward Neymar being handed a four-match ban by the South American Football Confederation (COMNEBOL) for his role in the post-match issues which followed Wednesday’s Group C defeat to Colombia, Brazil head coach Dunga has been training with Liverpool’s Coutinho as Neymar’s replacement.

23-year-old Coutinho is confident the Selecao can advance to the latter stages without their star man, and said: “Like the rest of my team-mates in the national squad, I am ready to occupy Ney’s place in the game against Venezuela.

“Neymar is a terrific player, but I am prepared – we all are. We are going to overcome his absence to go on the next stage.

“Venezuela are tactically very good and they mark in a strong way. But, in Brazil, we all have the determination to play well and look for the triumph.”

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