Men's Team

In form Ederson ready to grasp Copa America opportunity

In form Ederson ready to grasp Copa America opportunity
Patience has been a key theme of Ederson’s international career.

The undisputed first choice at Manchester City, he has often been left waiting in the wings for Brazil, where manager Tite has an embarrassment of riches between the sticks.

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In Ederson and Liverpool’s Alisson, the Selecao boss has two of the best goalkeepers in the world at his disposal, with the latter more often the preferred choice since the City man made his debut in a 3-0 win over Chile in October 2017.

In the four years since, Ederson has won every trophy on offer in England, twice claiming the Premier League’s Golden Glove award, but has only added a further 14 international caps to his collection.

The 27-year-old has had to play a waiting game, as he recently acknowledged.

“We know that in the national team no one has a definitive place,” he said ahead of Brazil’s Copa America quarter-final victory over Chile.

“Opportunities don’t come out of nothing. We have to be prepared. Throughout my career I waited in many occasions and seized it once I had the chance.”

That’s been the case in this year’s Copa America and, ahead of Sunday’s final, there is a sense that Ederson might finally have his moment in the spotlight.

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Tite used all three goalkeepers in the group stage, with Alisson starting in the 3-0 win over Venezuela and the 1-1 draw with Ecuador, whilst Weverton was selected for the 2-1 win over Colombia.

The host nation dominated all four group games, but Ederson was the only ‘keeper to emerge with a clean sheet from his efforts in the 4-0 win over Peru, when he made his major tournament debut.

It was enough for him to take the starting spot for both the quarter and semi-finals and, for all he acknowledges nobody’s place is set in stone, it would suggest the man from Osasco is favourite to play in Sunday’s showpiece against Argentina.

It would be thoroughly deserved.

City’s No.31 has taken his outstanding form at club level onto the international stage and, with Brazil beating Chile 1-0 in the last eight and recording the same result as they advanced to the final at the expense of Peru, he is the only goalkeeper yet to concede at the Copa America.

The Premier League's Golden Glove winner is in the fortunate position of being protected by a team that have been the superior side in the vast majority of their games but, as is the case at City, he has proved his worth when called into action.

In the quarter-final, when Gabriel Jesus’ sending off saw Brazil under real pressure for the first time in the tournament, Ederson made two smart saves to deny Chile’s Eduardo Vargas, getting down smartly to palm away a low strike and beating clear a powerful drive late in the game.

He was at his best again in the last four, making a crucial stop from Gianluca Lapadula as Peru pushed for an equaliser, meaning he has saved every shot he has faced in the tournament so far.

Indeed, the 27-year-old is enjoying a fine run of form in a Brazil shirt, having kept a clean sheet in each of his last six appearances.

Should Tite elect to start him in the final, then he will face his sternest test against an Argentina forward line boasting the talents of Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez and former team-mate, Sergio Aguero.

However, as Ederson attempts to translate his club success onto the international stage, that potent attacking trio will be expecting a challenge of their own.

He is a man in form and ready to grasp his opportunity.

The Copa America final kicks off at 1:00 (UK) on Sunday 11 July. Find out how you can watch it live.

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