Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the 2019 Copa America
opener between Brazil
and Bolivia from the Cicero Pompeu de Toledo Stadium in Sao Paulo. Hosts Brazil are the favourites to win this summer's competition, although they will be without the services of star player Neymar due to an ankle injury. Bolivia, meanwhile, are the lowest-ranked CONMEBOL team and therefore the huge underdogs entering the tournament opener. Stay tuned for the action!
BRAZIL: Alisson, Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Luis; Casemiro, Fernandinho, Coutinho; Richarlison, Firmino, Neres
BOLIVIA: Lampe; D Bejarano, Haquin, Jusino, M Bejarano; Chumacero, Justiniano, Saucedo, Saavedra; Castro; Martins
As mentioned, Brazil will have to do without Neymar this summer, with the Paris Saint-Germain attacker out with an ankle injury. As expected, Richarlison and David Neres are given the spots in the wide positions, while Roberto Firmino has been given the nod over Gabriel Jesus at centre-forward. Elsewhere, Casemiro and Fernandinho will provide a midfield base behind Philippe Coutinho
, while Filipe Luis is given the nod at left-back. It is a very strong XI.
As for Bolivia, it is no surprise to see Marcelo Martins lead the line, with the 31-year-old the leading scorer in the squad with 17 goals. He is also the only member of the Bolivia squad to play outside of South or Central America, turning out for Chinese outfit Shijiazhuang Ever Bright FC. Marvin Mejarano, meanwhile, will captain Bolivia from full-back in Sao Paulo.
Here we go then - the national anthems have been sung, the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Just about time for kickoff in Brazil!
KICKOFF: Brazil kick things off on home soil...
... as expected, there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium. The 2019 Copa America is officially underway. Can Bolivia pull off a huge shock by overcoming Brazil tonight? It is a huge ask, but stranger things have happened. Stay tuned for live text updates of the action.
It is a 4-3-3 formation for Brazil tonight, with Coutinho alongside Casemiro and Fernandinho. Neres is off the left, Richarlison off the right, Firmino through the middle. As expected, the host nation have taken control of the early moments and are threatening in wide areas.
Brazil have a free kick just outside the box as Richarlison is felled by Jusino...
... Coutinho's free kick is straight into the wall. Not great.
SAVE! Brilliant save from Lampe to keep out a close-range attempt from Firmino, who had reacted first to a corner into the Bolivia box. All Brazil in the early moments of this match.
SHOT! Alves sends a long-range free kick over the Bolivian crossbar.
Seems only a matter of time before Brazil take the lead as the home team continue to force the issue. A couple of dangerous crosses come into the Bolivian box, but Haquin and Jusino both make clearances. Eight minutes on the clock and Tite's team are very dangerous.
Bit of possession for Bolivia in the last couple of minutes, but nothing comes of it as Justiniano is forced to go back from a decent position. Martins is very much the lone forward for the team in green and it could be a very, very long night for the 31-year-old attacker.
CLOSE! Thiago Silva meets a dangerous corner into the Bolivia box, but the centre-back's header drops just wide of the far post. Another dangerous moment for Bolivia here.
Bolivia need to find a way of easing the pressure here as Brazil are having so much of the ball that the opening goal is almost inevitable. That said, still goalless with 13 minutes played.
We have not seen too much from Neres in the first 15 minutes here, but Richarlison has been heavily involved on the opposite side. The Everton
forward has become a key player for his national team and looks capable of causing Bolivia all sorts of issues in this match.
Bolivia are going to struggle to attack tonight, but they will be well-organised at the back and Brazil are hitting a brick wall at the moment each time that they break into the final third.
Alves is forward from right-back and almost breaks onto a sweeping pass from Casemiro, but Lampe is on hand to make the claim. Lampe looks for Castro down the other end - the attack is short-lived, though, and the host nation are soon back on the attack in Sao Paulo.
YELLOW CARD! Saucedo (Bolivia) picks up a yellow card for a challenge on Casemiro. The referee went to have a look at the incident after VAR had made the call, but it is just the yellow!
There are some tasty challenges going in at the moment and I suspect that we have not seen the last of the yellow cards. This time Casemiro is the offender on Justiniano.
Pass, pass, pass from Brazil as they continue to work space in the final third. However, Bolivia are still standing strong. Lampe has not actually had much to do in the first 25 minutes here.
SHOT! Martins fires harmlessly wide of the Brazil post from distance.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and we are still waiting for the first goal. We have not seen too much from Neres and Firmino in the final third for Brazil, but Richarlison has been bright. Tite will be wanting a bit more from a number of his players here.
Richarlison delivers a dangerous cross towards Firmino, but Jusino is on hand to make the clearance. The resulting corner is then cleared by Haquin as Bolivia continue to defend well.
Gabriel Jesus is the obvious attacking option on the Brazil bench and it would not be a surprise to see the Manchester City forward at some point tonight. A number of players are just struggling to find their groove at the moment with Bolivia actually quite comfortable.
Bolivia have to defend a couple of corners in quick succession, but manage to do so. Thiago Silva climbs highest to meet the second from Coutinho, although his effort is well wide.
The first 36 minutes of this match have absolutely flown past. We are still goalless in Sao Paulo, but it has been an interesting battle. An interesting kit for Brazil, meanwhile...
Richarlison has been Brazil's best attacker in the first period, but Neres has struggled to impress on the opposite side. Neymar has his critics but the attacker is an incredible miss.
Bolivia have not been afraid to put their foot in tonight...
Good defending from Chumacero to make it difficult for Coutinho to meet a cross from Luis. The Barcelona midfielder looked favourite before the number three got his body in the way. Bolivia have not threatened in the final third, but they have been excellent at the back.
SHOT! Castro fires wide of the Brazil goal from distance - Alisson not troubled.
It is still early in the match but it would not be a surprise if Tite was already thinking about alterations. To be honest, a number of players in a white shirt have disappointed here.
We are into the first of two added minutes at the end of the first period.
CLOSE! Casemiro's clever effort from distance just drops wide of the Bolivia post.
HALF TIME: BRAZIL 0-0 BOLIVIA
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. To be honest, it has not been the best game of football. Brazil, as expected, have been on top. However, chances have been few and far between in the Group A clash. All square.
STATISTICS! Brazil had 76% possession in the first period, but hit the target with just one of their 12 attempts, which will have disappointed Tite. Bolivia, meanwhile, have seen both of their attempts miss the target. Just the one booking - Bolivia's Saucedo in the 20th minute following a challenge on Casemiro, which saw the referee check the reply before issuing a card.
BENCH WATCH! Brazil have a lot of attacking talent on their bench tonight with the likes of Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Arthur and Everton all available. Bolivia, meanwhile, have options in the shape of Vaca, Arana and Galindo. Will either manager look to their bench at the interval?
KICKOFF: Bolivia resume the action in Sao Paulo...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second period develops here.
It has been a good start to the second period from Brazil, with Bolivia coming under serious pressure. VAR are now having a look at a possible penalty for handball...
... the referee is going over to have a look at the screen!
PENALTY! Brazil have a penalty following a VAR review! Handball from Jusino!
GOAL! BRAZIL 1-0 BOLIVIA (COUTINHO, PEN)
Brazil make the breakthrough early in the second half as Coutinho sends his penalty into the bottom corner of the net. Bolivia now face a huge uphill task in Sao Paulo.
It is really difficult to make a call on the penalty. Jusino did appear to move his hand slightly towards the ball, but it did not travel much distance. Tough one for the officials there.
GOAL! BRAZIL 2-0 BOLIVIA (COUTINHO)
And there is the second! Brazil double their advantage in the 53rd minute of this match as Coutinho rises to head a brilliant Firmino cross into the back of the net. Bolivia's resistance has been seriously broken and this could now get very messy for the underdogs!
Bolivia have the chance to create something down the other end as Justiniano stands over a free kick in a dangerous position. Martins, however, clips his effort well wide of the goal.
Coutinho did not enjoy the best of seasons for Barcelona but the attacker now has two for Brazil in their Copa America opener. It would take a brave man to bet against the former Liverpool playmaker completing his hat-trick before the night is out, that is for sure.
BOLIVIA SUB! Bolivia make their first change as Wayar replaces Saucedo.
Not too much to report in the way of chances in the last few minutes, but Brazil are very much on the front foot as they look for a third, which would kill this match as a contest.
BOLIVIA SUB! Bolivia make their second change of the match as Vaca takes the place of Saavedra in midfield. There is also some movement on the Brazil bench here.
BRAZIL SUB! Gabriel Jesus replaces Firmino for the host nation.
SHOT! Gabriel Jesus has a shot deflected wide of the Bolivia post in his first involvement since entering the field. There has also been a yellow card for someone here...
YELLOW CARD! ... Coutinho (Brazil) picked up the booking for a foul on Vaca.
Little over 20 minutes of this clash remaining and Brazil are well on their way to starting with all three points. Just a reminder that the Selecao have not actually won the Copa America since 2007, but they are the favourites to lift the trophy on home soil this summer.
Neres delivers a terrific cross towards the far post and Richarlison heads back across goal, but Vaca is on hand to make the clearance. Lampe then manages to gather a low cross from Alves as Brazil threaten a third goal. Little under 20 minutes remaining in Sao Paulo.
The Selecao have not won the Copa America since 2007, but are considered to be the favourites this summer, particularly when considering that home advantage is also with Tite's team. Next up for Brazil is a clash with Venezuela on Tuesday night, while Bolivia will be looking to bounce back from what looks to be an opening-day defeat when they face Peru.
Not an awful lot to report at the moment as Brazil almost allow Bolivia the chance to have some possession in the hope of launching a counter-attack. Still 2-0 to the home side.
BOLIVIA SUB! Third change for Bolivia as Ramallo replaces Castro.
No sign of a hat-trick for Coutinho at the moment. In truth, no sign of any real chances here as Brazil seem to be happy with their 2-0 lead. And why not? Conversing energy will be important as it is unlikely that Bolivia will be able to turn this around late on.
It would not be a surprise to see Tite look to his bench for the second time in the next few minutes. Willian is available for Brazil should he be required in the latter stages here.
BRAZIL SUB! Everton replaces Neres for the host nation.
Martins has been like a battering ram for Bolivia tonight, but the number nine cannot escape the attentions of Thiago Silva as Brazil prepare to make their third change of the match.
BRAZIL SUB! Willian replaces Richarlison for Brazil.
GOAL! BRAZIL 3-0 BOLIVIA (EVERTON)
Oh my word! It is just stunning! Everton drives down the left before cutting onto his right foot and bending one into the far corner of the net. Stunner for the substitute there!
Has Everton done enough to deserve a start in the next match? He has not been on long but it was some goal from the substitute. Brazil are going to start with a comfortable win here.
SAVE! Alisson keeps out a decent attempt from Bolivia substitute Vaca.
We are into the first of four additional minutes in Sao Paulo.
Again Bolivia struggle to deal with the threat in a wide position as Willian drives down the right before delivering a low cross, but there are no takers on this occasion.
It is going to be a three-goal success for Brazil in their tournament opener. A double from Coutinho and a late strike from Everton, which was excellent. Not long left here.
FULL TIME: BRAZIL 3-0 BOLIVIA
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Brazil opening their 2019 Copa America campaign with a 3-0 win over Bolivia, who struggled in the second period. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live coverage once again. See you again soon!