Brazil 3-0 Venezuela: Neymar led Brazil off to a perfect start in Copa America 2021

Gabriel Barbosa of Brazil celebrates his goal with Neymar in the 89th minute
Gabriel Barbosa of Brazil celebrates his goal with Neymar in the 89th minute

Brazil began their Copa America defence with a win in their opening game against Venezuela

Goals from Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa ensured they took all three points and set the pace early on in Group A.

In a largely one-sided contest, Brazil completely bossed their opponent and used the opportunity to stamp their authority in this group. 

The first goal of the game came in the 22nd minute, with Marquinhos opening his Copa 2021 account with a neat finish after getting on the end of a corner kick.

Neymar doubled the host’s lead with a penalty in the 64th minute before substitute Gabriel Barbosa wrapped up the win late in the second half to hand Brazil an early advantage in the group.

Here are three observations from the match. 

Neymar the star of the show

From the one go, Neymar was in for business in this game.

The PSG forward played like a man on a mission on Sunday, making light work of a Venezuela team who could only foul him to get near him.

In a game full of many chances, he created the most and set the tone for Brazil in the attack.

Neymar created seven chances in the game, the most by any Brazilian player in the Copa América since he debuted in the National Team. He also led the team in terms of dribbles and ended the game with an over 60% success rate in his dribbles.

Neymar has already earned his place among 

He has already earned his place among Brazil’s all-time greats and is on course to match or even eclipse Pele’s record in the national team. With his goal on Sunday, he is now just 10 goals away from matching Pele as the national team’s all-time leading scorer.

In this form, no one can bet against him doing so, even in this tournament. 

Brazil are clear favourites

Simply put, it will take a miracle to stop this Brazil side.

The nature of their win on Sunday must have sent shock waves across the continent as other teams imagine how to stop them. They were simply brilliant. 

Although they faced a weakened Venezuela side, one cannot take away the fact that they absolutely bossed this game because of their quality. Their win is not just a result of the quality of their opponent but a reflection of their own quality. 

Long before the tournament started, Tite’s men have been in fiery form and only showed on Sunday what the rest of the continent already knows.

With the win, they extended their winning run to eight games and also kept their fifth clean sheet in a row. More impressive is that they have now conceded just two goals in eight games and have now scored two or more goals in seven of their last eight games.

At this rate, it will take a very strong opponent to stop Tite’s men from winning their second Copa title in a row and their 10th overall.

Covid-19 affected Venezuela proceedings

It is fair to say that Venezuela who are dealing with double-digit positive COVID tests were unlucky. A total of 13 players and coaching staff are affected.

The visitors, it can be argued, could have produced a better show had their squad been complete. Match preview indicated Brazil as a huge favourites in Copa America opener. But in the end, they had to settle for a loss and one shot on target in over 90 minutes. With the coronavirus still active in the continent, the winner may have to be lucky to escape the infection.

At the end, Venezuela would not be the only team that will be affected by the virus. The covid-19 infection could add more uncertainly and drama to Copa America 2021.