Australia, Qatar invited to 2020 Copa America

Tanya Simon
June 15, 2019

With Neymar watching from afar, it was Philippe Coutinho who came through for Brazil in the Copa America opener.

Champions League-winning duo Alisson Becker and Roberto Firmino will be back on the trophy trail this summer as they seek to secure the 2019 Copa America for Brazil.

It may be a risk in this superstitious nation but there is one omen on their side - Brazil have hosted the Copa America four times and won it every time whichever colour they wore.

Playing without superstar Neymar after he was ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury, 2018 World Cup quarter-finalists Brazil dominated but struggled to create any real clear-cut chances.

The result was never in doubt from that point as Brazil turned the boos into cheers in the south-west of Sao Paulo, where substitute Everton scored a stunning long-range goal with six minutes remaining.

A VAR check and handball led Coutinho to the penalty spot and the Barcelona star made no mistake in the 50th minute before making it 2-0 three minutes later after capping a sweeping move.

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Everton, who replaced Neres, sored the third goal with a right-footed shot from outside the area after clearing a couple of defenders.

"Tite will have to build the team without him, but I believe that this will not prevent the selection of a team to play great games and that Brazil can win the title", he said, referring to the team's coach. "In the second half we were able to impose our game".

An eight-time Copa America champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989.

This year's tournament is comprised of 10 CONMEBOL nations - Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela - plus two invited guests in Japan and 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

Qatar is now preparing to take part in its first Copa America, which kicks off in Brazil this weekend, along with fellow Asian Cup finalists, Japan.

Among those at the Morumbi on Friday was Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

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