The legendary captain of the Brazilian national football team talked to copaamerica.com and analyzed how is playing the semifinals stages of the oldest tournament in the world.
Marcos Evangelista de Morães, well known as Cafu, is one of the greatest and most recognized sports figures in football world.
Leader in matches played with the Brazilian national team with 142 games, he won two time the FIFA World Cup, in 1994 in United States and in Korea and Japan in 2002. In addition, he is the only player to reach three finals of that tournament, as he played the final in France 1998.
Cafú also won two CONMEBOL Copa América titles in Bolivia 1997 and Paraguay 1999. He participated in four editions of the continental tournament.
The legendary captain of the Brazilian team analyzed how players experience this type of games, as they will be the semifinals of the Copa América between Brazil-Argentina and Chile-Peru.
Match Brazil vs. Argentina in the semifinals
The South American derby, this two teams are used to play this type of stages. Brazil and Argentina always provided great games, regardless of the stage that each selection goes through.
How to play this kind of matches for the CONMEBOL Copa America?
They are extremely exciting games. They are matches that everyone wants to play. It really is a game in which every professional athlete wants to participate. In addition, it is the semifinal of the CONMEBOL Copa America, a top football tournament. The game between Brazil and Argentina is a game that makes players sleep thinking about what would happen, and thinking only about the kick off.
What is the most difficult part of a semifinal match of CONMEBOL Copa América
The most difficult thing is to manage the anxiety before the kick off. You do not know how the opponent will behave in the game. I think managing anxiety is the hardest part.
How is the preparation of the players for the semifinal stages?
I think maybe in a different way from the other athletes. The preparation must be normal, and be the same. The same methods as if you were preparing for a first round match. It should be played in a way that allows you to reach the final, but you should not change the way you prepare it because that is how you reached the semifinal.
What did it mean for you to contest and win the CONMEBOL Copa America?
It meant a lot in my career. They were two titles that I managed to lift. The CONMEBOL Copa América in 1997 and in 1999. This is an extremely important competition, nobody wants to lose, everyone wants to win, and with Brazil, I had the opportunity to win it twice. It’s a tournament that was very important in my professional career.
For you what it means to be a world reference for the new generations of footballers
I am very proud to be part of those athletes that are followed today by many generations. I am very happy to know that the work that I did was fruitful and that today the little ones can enjoy all that.
What do you like most about the CONMEBOL Copa America Brazil 2019?
The organization, the environment. You enjoy a tournament in which you face all the teams you compete with in the World Cup, you meet great friends with whom you have the opportunity to play outside of your country. It is amazing.