Vinícius Jr. on Brazil Copa América exit: ‘It was my fault’

Vinícius Júnior apologised for letting Brazil down after missing his team’s Copa América quarterfinal defeat on penalties to Uruguay.

The Real Madrid star missed Sunday’s game through suspension, having picked up yellow cards in the group games against Paraguay and Colombia.

Without Vinícius, Brazil struggled to create chances and lost 4-2 in the shootout after a goalless draw against 10-man Uruguay.

“The Copa América is over and it’s time to reflect, to know how to deal with defeat,” Vinícius wrote in Portuguese on Instagram on Tuesday. “The feeling of frustration takes over again. On penalties once again.

“I screwed up by receiving two avoidable yellow cards. Once again I watched the elimination from the sidelines. But this time, it was my fault. I apologize for that.”

The Selecao also fell on penalties at the quarterfinal stages of the 2022 World Cup, with Vinícius substituted in the game against Croatia.

With Brazil being without the country’s all-time top scorer Neymar, who is recovering from a knee injury, much was expected from Vinícius.

The 23-year-old had gone into the tournament in the United States having enjoyed a strong season for Madrid.

He had 13 goals as Madrid won LaLiga and was named as the 2023-24 Champions League Player of the Season after scoring six goals, including his team’s second in the 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund in the final at Wembley.

Vinícius started in Brazil’s opening three games at the Copa, scoring twice.

He has come under fire back home amid claims that Brazil fans were yet to see the same sparkling form he showed in Spain.

“I know how to listen to criticism and, believe me, the harshest ones come from home,” Vinícius wrote.

He has vowed to use this tournament exit as a learning experience to help Brazil reach the top and win silverware.

“Fortunately, my career with the national team has only just begun,” he wrote. “Together with my teammates, I’ll have the chance to put our national team back where it belongs. WE’LL GET BACK TO THE TOP! I LOVE YOU AND WE’RE IN IT TOGETHER!”

Brazil are back in action on Sept. 4 when they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Ecuador.

Dorival Júnior’s side is sixth in the standings with only two wins from their opening six qualifiers.