With a convincing performance by Brazil, the defending champions started their defense of the Copa America title with a convincing 3-0 win against Venezuela in the opening game of the tournament.
The 47th edition of Copa America has been a long time coming, largely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only two weeks ago the start was in the air after doubts about the host country.
Brazil stepped in after death to host the competition for a consecutive edition. With their appearance on the opening day, they sent a letter of intent to the rest of the continent.
Manager Tite made three changes to the side that defeated Paraguay in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier last week. Alisson, Renan Lodi and Lucas Paqueta all started at the expense of Ederson, Alex Sandro and Roberto Firmino.
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Neymar was injured when his nation took their ninth continental title on home soil two years ago. The Paris Saint-Germain man wants to make up for this, however, and was the main instigator when his side steamed over Venezuela.
After a brilliant start to the game, Brazil came out narrowly through Eder Militao and Richarlison. Marquinhos then made it into the goal with a left foot in the 23rd minute.
Brazil continued to dominate the action and should have doubled their lead before half-time, but because of a bad finish.
It was more similar in the second half. Neymar finally came into the scorers list in the 64th minute from the penalty spot and scored his 67th goal in national colors.
Referee Esteban Ostojich had initially waved the game when Yohan Cumana Danilo fell in the penalty area. However, after consulting the VAR, he withdrew his decision.
From then on it was cruise control for the Samba Boys. They made the game even more glamorous when Gabriel Barbosa headed a cross from Neymar in the 89th minute.
The win helped Brazil set an early marker in Group A and is a good qualification to win the 10th Copa America crown.
Here’s a rundown of how each Selecao player fared in the routine win.
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Player ratings of Brazil versus Venezuela
Alisson Becker – 6/10
Alisson Becker was practically a spectator for most of the game. However, he was his usual calm self in sales and dealings.
Renan Lodi – 5.5 / 10
The Atletico Madrid man did not offer enough attack width and his yellow card in the first half resulted in his being dismissed at half time for Alex Sandro.
Marquinhos – 8/10
Marquinhos put Brazil on the path to a routine win when he showed plenty of awareness in the first half to respond to a rebound. He has also effectively cleaned up on the rare occasions when Venezuela has been threatened.
Eder Militao – 7/10
Eder Militao put in a solid defensive layer alongside Marquinhos, playing his part to make sure Alisson wasn’t tested.
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Danilo – 7.5 / 10
Danilo was practically in Venezuela’s half as Brazil’s absolute dominance limited his defensive duties. The Juventus man won the penalty from which Neymar scored.
Fred – 6.5 / 10
Fred helped Brazil control the game in midfield with his effective tackle and distribution. He was substituted for Fabinho four minutes before the end.
Casemiro – 7/10
Casemiro was ubiquitous in the Brazilian midfield as usual. He was instrumental in ensuring that the hosts did not lose control of the game.
Lucas Paqueta – 5/10
The Lyoner was awarded one of the few unguaranteed places in the starting line-up. However, he failed to deliver and was replaced by Everton Ribeiro at halftime.
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Neymar – 8.5 / 10
Neymar had several chances to score more goals but was disappointed by an unusually poor finish. He ended the night with a goal and assist. His goal means he’s just 10 goals behind Pelé in the race for Brazil’s all-time top scorer.
Richarlison – 6/10
Richarlison had some decent chances of finding the back of the web but failed to take advantage of them. His position is weakened by the fact that his substitute has hit from the bench.
Gabriel Jesus – 6.5 / 10
Gabriel Jesus made marauding runs during his entire time in the field and constantly turned the Venezuelan defense on its backfoot.
Alex Sandro – 6/10
The Juventus man came off the bench at halftime and provided more depth on the left attacking side.
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Everton Ribeiro – 6/10
The Flamengo midfielder didn’t look out of place in midfield alongside established European players after leaving the bench.
Gabriel Barbosa – 7.5 / 10
The formally strong Palmeiras man had an eventful game in which he received a yellow card just one minute after being substituted on. A minute before the end, he scored the third goal of his team. All of this happened in just 25 minutes of action.
Vinicius Junior – 6/10
The Real Madrid striker came on with just six minutes to go, but made a sign with the kick-start of the move that led to the third goal.
Fabinho – 5/10
Fabinho replaced Fred in the 84th minute and provided fresh legs in the Brazilian midfield.
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