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Brazil focused on Argentina semi at traumatic venue

Thiago Silva says fans can expect a great spectacle when Brazil take on Argentina in Tuesday’s Copa America semi-final © AFP / DOUGLAS MAGNO

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, Jun 30Brazil center-back Thiago Silva says the hosts are concentrating on positive thoughts ahead of their Copa America semi-final against Argentina, at the scene of one of their most disastrous experiences on a football field.

The Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, where the two South American giants will face off on Tuesday for a place in the Copa America final, was where Brazil collapsed spectacularly in the World Cup semi-final against Germany in 2014.

They lost 7-1 in a match that went down in history as a defeat at least as, if not more, painful than their infamous Maracanazo — the 2-1 loss to Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium that denied Brazil a first World Cup success in 1950.

“No-one here has amnesia, nor will they forget what happened, but that’s life, we can’t get stuck in the bad things from the past. We have to think about good things,” said Silva.

Brazil have to a certain extent already overcome their Mineirao demons by beating Argentina 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier in that stadium in 2016, but this will be their first return to the theatre of horrors in a major competition.

“We played well in the last match against Argentina here, and most of all for the upcoming match we need to focus on that positive aspect.”

The stadium and painful memories are less significant than the task of playing against fierce rivals boasting the best player in the world in Lionel Messi, according to Silva.

The Paris Saint-Germain defender said Brazil are “more aware that we’re up against an Argentina that is on a par with us technically and tactically.”

While three of the four Copa quarter-finals finished goalless — and were decided on penalties — Silva insists the semi-final against Argentina will provide better attacking entertainment.

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“You can expect dedication, force of will, responsibility but with joyful football, attacking players with sufficient qualities to ensure a great game,” he said.

“The fans will see a great spectacle.”

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