Brazil started their title defense with a 3-0 demolition of Venezuela in the opening game of the Copa America 2021.
Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa were all on target for Seleccao, who took a healthy lead in Group A.
The hosts started the match brightly and made their dominance count after Marquinhos headed a Neymar corner in the 23rd minute.
The PSG star then popped up with a penalty in the second-half after Danilo was fouled inside the area by Yohan Cumana. Substitute Barbosa then came off the bench and pounced on a defensive mistake to round off the proceedings.
Venezuela, who were missing in several players through COVID-19, were second-best for most of the match and never really tested Brazil in any way.
Here are the five major talking points from the match.
#1 Brazil got the job done but lacked cutting edge
How a side that won by a margin as comprehensive as 3-0 can lack a cutting edge is a question on a lot of minds. The fact is, this could’ve been a rout of Venezuela had Seleccao not been so wasteful with their chances earlier on.
Within the first 10 minutes of the clash, Brazil came close to scoring on three occasions. Each time, they were let down by some poor finishing, especially from Militao, who headed just wide off the post from close-range.
The reigning champions lost some of this early momentum as the match went on, but then sprung up with two more opportunities. This time, it was Neymar who let down by dragging his shot wide while Richarlison saw a chipped effort cleared off the line soon after.
#2 Venezuela clearly missed key players
Venezuela’s squad is ravaged by 13 positive COVID-19 cases. The list includes key stars like Tomas Rincon, Roberto Rosales, Romulo Otero and Josef Martinez, while prolific striker Salomon Rondon is out injured. Without so many of their regulars, La Vinotinto were always going to struggle and so they did.
In large swathes of the game, Jose Peseiro’s side struggled to even get hold of the ball. Brazil would immediately close their players down and force them into committing mistakes. Indeed, Venezuela registered just 32% of the ball possession in the game!
They struggled to produce anything meaningful going forward and it comes as no surprise that Venezuela’s only shot on target in the match too came from a set-piece situation.