Marquinhos, Neymar and Gabriel Barbosa scored in the opener at the Man Garrincha Stadium on Sunday, less than a day after several Venezuelan players tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite opposition to staging the tournament in his home country, Brazil captain Casemiro said that the defending champion intends to retain the trophy. “It could be a friendly, Copa America or World Cup qualifiers, but we play to win,” he said.
Venezuela summoned 15 new players at short notice after eight squad members tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, and the disruption showed on the field. The host wasted opportunities, but faced little resistance from Venezuela.
Brazil opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after a corner-kick ended with Marquinhos striking the ball home from close range. Neymar made it 2-0 from the spot in the 64th minute after Danilo was pushed inside the 18-yard box.
Later, Neymar dribbled past Venezuelan goalkeeper Joel Graterol and crossed for Barbosa to chest the ball into an empty net in the 89th minute. In the day’s other fixture, Colombia registered a 1-0 success against Ecuador.
Results: Group A:
Brazil 3 (Marquinhos 23’, Neymar 64’ (P), Gabriel Barbosa 89’) beat Venezuela 0; Colombia 1 (Edwin Cardona 42’) beat Ecuador 0