Hosts Brazil kickstarted their Copa America campaign in splendid fashion with a 3-0 victory against Bolivia in the Group A opener on Friday.
Barcelona attacking midfielder Philipe Coutinho scored a quick-fire brace in the beginning of the second half before substitute Everton Soares of Gremio scored in the 83rd minute to round off a comfortable win at the end for Brazil.
Everton forward Richarlison won the penalty after the half-time break after his attempted cross was handled by an opponent defender in the box. The incident was re-checked by VAR, after which a spot-kick was given to Brazil. Philipe Coutinho dispatched the penalty in style before heading in a superb lofted cross by Roberto Firmino minutes later.
Everton, who replaced Ajax youngster David Neres on the 80th minute mark, scored a thunderbolt of a shot to give Brazil a brilliant start in the tournament as they look to get their hands on the Copa America trophy for the first time since winning it back-to-back in 2004 and 2007.
Ahead of their second group-stage match against Venezuela, spirits were high in the Brazil camp. A short video from the team’s training on Wednesday has surfaced on social media showing an outrageous piece of skill produced by Richarlison.
The Everton man, in the video, is one on one with 22-year old newcomer David Neres when he shifts his feet and nutmegs the Ajax winger in what was a brilliant showpiece for the cameras. As Neres laid down on the ground in embarrassment, other Brazil stars did not shy away from ridiculing the player.
David Neres made his debut for Brazil when he assisted a goal in a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in March. The Ajax attacker had a terrific last season, winning the Eredivisie and also making it to the Champions League semi-finals.
Interestingly, David Neres has been linked with a move to Richarlison’s club Everton. Toffees manager Marco Silva has shown great interest in the talented youngster and looks to bring him to Goodison Park this summer. Richarlison recently spoke about the prospect of his teammate joining him at Everton.
“Yeah, I read something about that,” Richarlison said. “I’ve spoken to him about it already. I told him the doors are open for him there, and that he could help us a lot. I hope he comes. He’d be very welcome there. I’ve known him since we played together for Brazil’s U20 side, and he’s a guy I get along with really well. Hopefully, I’ll see him there.”