Published: Sat, June 15, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Coutinho leads Brazil to opening win in Copa America

Coutinho leads Brazil to opening win in Copa America

"Sometimes it's normal for the fans to jeer, they want us to play well and win", Coutinho said.

Bolivia were increasingly over-run and had no way back when substitute Everton Soares fired into the far corner in the 85th minute to wrap up the comfortable victory. While many have stacked the odds in Brazil's favor, one noticeably absent player on the field will be Neymar Jr.

Fans at the Morumbi stadium, which was around 70% full, booed Brazil at the break after a goalless first half in the Group A match.

However, the hosts sprung in to life in the second half as Richarlison won a penalty after his shot struck the arm of Jusino after consultation with VAR.

Thiago Silva saw a header flash wide of the post and Casemiro came close with an audacious effort for Brazil, who had 77 per cent of the possession in the opening 45 minutes.

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Reds pair Firmino and Alisson joined up with the rest of Tite's squad last week and both featured in the Selecao's final warm-up match ahead of Friday's Copa America curtain-raiser against Bolivia.

The Socceroos will broaden their horizons next year after accepting an invitation from the South American confederation, Conmebol, to take part in the 2020 Copa América in Argentina and Colombia. Coutinho, however, stepped up when Brazil needed him most with his first worldwide brace since scoring a hat-trick against Haiti at the Copa America Centenario. On Saturday, action continues with Day 2 as Venezuela plays Peru at 3 p.m. ET before the big one between Argentina and Colombia at 6 p.m. ET.

The top four teams from each six-strong group advance to the quarter-finals.

Brazil was wearing a white jersey in honour of the 100th anniversary of the team's first South American title in 1919. "It was important to get this first win". "Brazil loses a great player, one of the most important in the national team, which changes things tactically", Cafu said to reporters at a Copa America launch event.

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