The Copa America 2021 is off and underway in Brazil, and we’ve seen some great goals and the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi are already off the mark.
[ LIVE: Updates from Copa America ]
With plenty of players missing out due to positive COVID-19 cases, the likes of Venezuela have been severely hit by absentees as the tournament was moved from joint hosts Colombia and Argentina due to political unrest in the former and COVID cases in the latter.
Brazil stepped in at the eleventh hour to host the tournament, but that has been heavily scrutinized considering the current coronavirus situation across much of South America.
[ MORE: Full highlights, analysis of PL season ]
Below is the latest update from the action on the pitch, as we’ve seen eight of the 10 teams competing so far with Peru and Uruguay the two nations yet to play in the group stage, but they begin their tournament on Thursday.
Latest Copa America news
How to watch, stream
Copa America 2021 update
Brazil 3-0 Venezuela
The hosts got off to a flying start, but full credit to a hugely makeshift Venezuela side after they were without 13 players who tested positive for COVID-19. Marquinhos put Brazil ahead in the first half, then Neymar scored a penalty kick and Gabriel Barbosa finished things off. In terms of Premier League stars, Liverpool’s Alisson started in goal, while Everton’s Richarlison and Man City’s Jesus started up top. Fabinho came off the bench, while Thiago Silva, Roberto Firmino and Ederson were all unused subs. They are likely to feature against Peru in their next Group A game.
Colombia 1-0 Ecuador
A narrow win for Colombia came courtesy of a gorgeous set-piece routine, as Edwin Cardona finished off a lovely training ground move. Without James Rodriguez due to ongoing fitness issues, Los Cafateros started Everton center back Yerry Mina, while Juve’s Juan Cuadrado started and Tottenham’s Davinson Sanchez came off the bench. Next up for Colombia in Group A is Venezuela.
Argentina 1-1 Chile
In Group B, Lionel Messi scored a sublime free kick but Argentina couldn’t hold on for victory as La Albiceleste continue to underwhelm. Argentina started well but wasted plenty of chances as Chile hung in there. Veteran Arturo Vidal won a penalty kick but Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez pulled off a stunning save onto the woodwork, only for Eduardo Vargas to finish the rebound. Messi teed up Nicolas Gonzalez perfectly late on but he headed over, as Argentina now face Uruguay. That will be tasty.
Paraguay 3-1 Bolivia
The Paraguayans top Group B as they eased past Bolivia. Erwin Saavedra did give Bolivia the lead from the penalty spot, but they had Jaume Cuellar sent off right at the end of the first half and Paraguay took full advantage of their one man advantage. They scored three goals in 18 minutes in the second half, with Alejandro Romero setting them on their way and Angel Romero sealed the comeback win. Paraguay now have a week off before they face Argentina.
Copa America update: Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay win; Argentina held originally appeared on NBCSports.com