The Copa America 2021 is finally getting underway on Sunday night after all the fuss. Hosts Brazil takes on neighbours Venezuela at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia. Once the ball gets rolled, everything that happened in the last few weeks can be forgotten. The tournament’s future was unclear just over a week ago.

Original hosts Argentina and Colombia were stripped of hosting rights due to the increasing covid outbreak and protests respectively. Brazil came forward to host the event despite protests from their own people. Brazil coach Tite and captains Neymar Jr and Casemiro were ready to boycott the Copa. Just when we thought the dust has settled the tournament is rocked again. As many as 13 Venezuela players tested positive for Covid-19 just days before the kick-off. The future of the tournament is in doubt again.


Brazil enters the tournament as hot favourites to defend their Copa America title won back in 2019 when the world was normal. They have been in impressive form as well and are on a six-game winning run. Placed in an easy Group-A they can top the group easily if they play to their strengths. They possess matchwinners across the pitch to succeed in the knockouts and win the trophy again. The Selecao are expected to win the opener against Venezuela comfortably.

Venezuela on the other hand are in demoralizing form. They have won only one out of their previous six games. La Vinotinto are the joint bottom of their World Cup qualifying group on goal difference. They are missing shooting boots in the final third and are struggling to create chances. However, they are trying to fix their problems by being solid at the back. Their coach Jose Peseiro believes that only a compact defence would help them get something out of the clash against Brazil. A Covid outbreak has not helped their cause.



Tite can be happy as his squad is injury-free. Given the quality he has in his squad he can choose anyone in any system depending on the opposition. Tite can switch between 4-3-3 and 4-2-2-2 if he wants to use a four-pronged attack. He used a four-man attack to perfection in the last game before the Copa and may go with it again.



We can expect a familiar lineup with Alisson in goal protected by Eder Militao and Marquinhos in the middle. Casemiro and Fabinho should protect the back four with Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison play as wide forwards. Roberto Firmino and Neymar would be deployed as a dangerous strike pair up top.



Allisson; Danilo, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fabinho; Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison ; Neymar Jr, Roberto Firmino


Jose Peseiro surprisingly excluded Salomon Rondon their record goalscorer from the squad. Naturally, they’re failing to fire in the top half of the pitch. This has opted Peseiro to opt for a five-man back and depend purely on counter-attacking strategy. Nearly 13 players tested positive from the main squad and players from Venezuela primary division are called up to the squad. This adds up to uncertainty in the squad.



Joel Graterol;Alexander Gonzalez, Nahuel Ferraresi, Jhon Chancellor, Mikel Villanueva, Roberto Rosales; Jefferson Savarino, Junior Moreno, Tomas Rincon, Romulo Otero; Josef Martinez




In a team full of superstars Neymar stands out. The freestyling forward is blessed with incredible flair and finesse. He has struggled with injuries and discipline issues this season. When he played he showed why he was Brazil’s best. Having missed the 2019 edition due to an injury, Neymar would be charged to drive his side to defend their title.

What better way to announce your intentions than sparkle on the opening night. Brazil are expected to have a majority of possession and Neymar would be the one to pick a deep defence with his skill and vision.



Mikel Villanueva will be tasked with marking Neymar and nullifying his moment on and off the ball.



The 28-year-old striker has huge boots to fill at the Copa America. He has to be the target man for his side and try to replicate Salomon Rondon’s scoring exploits. The Atalanta United striker possesses good pace and has the right physical frame to trouble defences. He has to play on the shoulder of the last man to run in behind and hurt the hosts on counters.



Midfield destroyers Fabinho and Casemiro should try to prevent any counterattacks and stop Martinez.



Brazil are the undoubted favourite in the game. They are in superior form too and would like to make a statement on an opening day. Venezuela are hurt by the covid outbreak in their squad. They will only set up to avoid defeat by a huge margin as they miss their first team.

Brazil will have the majority of the ball and counter-attacking is the only attacking plan for the guests. FootTheBall expects Brazil to post a 5-0 victory over Venezuela with their star power sparkling.

also read