Philippe Coutinho nets a brace as Brazil get off to winning Copa America start

VAR-assisted penalty set the hosts on their way

Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Bolivia during their opening Copa America match. Photo: Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images

Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring against Bolivia during their opening Copa America match. Photo: Miguel Schincariol/Getty Images

 

Brazil 3 Bolivia 0

Philippe Coutinho scored a second half double and Everton added a cracking third as Brazil recovered from a sleepy start to beat Bolivia 3-0 in their Copa America opener on Friday.

Both sides were poor in the first period but the game briefly came alive five minutes into the second half when Coutinho slotted home a VAR-assisted penalty.

Coutinho grabbed a second with a close-range header three minutes later before Everton rifled home a third from outside the box with five minutes remaining.

The match was the first of this year’s tournament, which is being held in Brazil for the first time since 1989. All 10 South American teams are participating along with guest nations Qatar and Japan.

Brazil, who stared with Roberto Firmino up front and Fernandinho in midfield in place of the injured Arthur, failed to inspire the strangely subdued crowd of just 46,342 at Sao Paulo’s Morumbi stadium.

Wearing white shirts for the first time in more than 60 years, the home side huffed and puffed but rarely threatened and even after they went 2-0 up, they looked devoid of ideas and urgency.

Bolivia, who last won the title in 1963, rarely threatened at the other end.

Peru play Venezuela in Porto Alegre on Saturday in the second Group A game. Brazil’s next match is against Venezuela in Salvador next Tuesday.

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