Brazil hopes to avoid stumbling in opener
Brazil faces Venezuela in its opener in the Copa America on
Sunday, hoping to avoid the unimpressive start of the host team and
Argentina could scramble only a 1-1 draw on Friday against
Bolivia in the curtain-raiser of the 3 1/2-week South American
Bolivia and Venezuela are traditionally the two weakest teams in
South America and, like Argentina, Brazil has a side brimming with
stars who are expected to overwhelm the opposition.
”Venezuela will also create problems for us,” Brazil coach
Mano Menezes said on Saturday. ”But how severe will depend on how
Menezes, who is using mostly young players looking ahead to the
2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro, is likely to start Robinho,
Alexandre Pato and Neymar up front. Neymar’s teammate at Santos,
Paulo Henrique Ganso, will be directing play from midfield.
”We have great players and if we play well we can dominate with
our game,” said Menezes, who hopes to lead Brazil to its third
conseutive Copa America title. It defeated Argentina in the last
Brazil’s match on Sunday will be in La Plata, about 60
kilometers (35 miles) southeast of Buenos Aires. The other Group B
match is Paraguay vs. Ecuador in Santa Fe.
Venezuela coach Cesar Farias suggested his team would not be
awed by Brazil.
”We also have players with European clubs,” Farias said. ”We
don’t have the star level of Brazil, but this is football and it’s
a team game. If we can get a point against Brazil it will send a
message about the hopes we have here.”
Venezuela’s top scoring threat is likely to be Nicolas Fedor of
Spanish club Getafe and Jose Salomon Rondon, who plays for Spain’s