Lucas Paquetá faced a challenging half-hour when he entered Brazil’s friendly against Mexico in Texas. Despite an impressive pass that nearly led to a goal for Endrick, the West Ham midfielder was caught off guard, leading to Mexico’s first goal, and struggled defensively during a corner for the second. However, Brazil ultimately clinched a 3-2 victory, with 17-year-old Endrick scoring the decisive goal.

The match showcased Brazil’s disjointed performance, understandable given that they fielded a reserve team. Normalcy is expected to return when they face the U.S. and Costa Rica in upcoming fixtures as they kick off their Copa America campaign. Paquetá is likely to secure a spot in the starting lineup.

In recent months, Paquetá has proven to be a vital player for Brazil, with his ability to dictate play and provide crucial passes. Despite not being as flashy as Vinicius Junior, Paquetá’s versatility and playmaking skills make him indispensable. His return to the national team in March highlighted his importance, especially after Brazil’s struggles in World Cup qualifiers.

However, Paquetá’s involvement in a betting scandal has cast a shadow over his career. He has been charged by the English Football Association for allegedly deliberately receiving yellow cards in matches to influence betting markets. Despite asserting his innocence, the seriousness of the charges could potentially end his top-level career if found guilty.

The accusations stem from unusual betting activity surrounding Paquetá’s matches, particularly concerning yellow cards. Investigations suggest a significant number of bets were placed on Paquetá receiving a yellow card during specific matches, raising suspicions of foul play.

Although the burden of proof in such cases is lower than in criminal proceedings, the outcome could have severe repercussions for Paquetá. His alleged involvement has already impacted his career, with a potential move to Manchester City falling through.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Paquetá must focus on his performances on the field. Wednesday’s match against the United States presents an opportunity for him to showcase his talent and potentially put aside the off-field distractions, albeit temporarily.