Brazil beats Mexico 2-0 in warmup for Copa America
SAO PAULO (AP) — Philippe Coutinho and Diego Tardelli scored a goal each in the first half to give Brazil a 2-0 win over Mexico in a warmup for the Copa America on Sunday.
It was Brazil’s first match at home since its disappointing World Cup elimination last year, and the second-to-last before it travels to Chile for the South American tournament. Dunga’s team will play at home again on Wednesday against Honduras in its final warmup.
It was Mexico’s final match before debuting in the Copa America on Friday against Bolivia. Brazil opens against Peru next Sunday.
Brazil was without Neymar, who on Saturday helped Barcelona win the Champions League in Germany. He is expected to report to the national team in the next few days. Coach Dunga also couldn’t count on veteran striker Robinho, who is nursing a knee injury.
It was a lackluster match at the Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo, with the teams creating few scoring opportunities throughout the game.
Coutinho put Brazil ahead with a beautiful angled shot from inside the area in the 28th minute. He got past defender Hugo Ayala and, from near the end line, sent a right-footed shot in between the post and goalkeeper Jesus Corona, who apparently was expecting a cross. It was Coutinho’s first goal with Brazil’s national team.
Tardelli added to the lead in the 37th with an easy goal from close range after receiving a perfect pass from midfielder Elias inside the area.
The Copa America will be Brazil’s first official competition since the World Cup, giving the five-time world champions their first chance at redemption after the 7-1 semifinal loss to Germany.
“Football gives you opportunities like these,” Brazil defender David Luiz said. “It’s good to be playing at home again, to be winning again in front of our fans.”
The team received a warm welcome from the nearly 35,000 fans at Palmeiras’ Allianz Parque and players were applauded after the final whistle.
Dunga is keeping six players from the World Cup squad that was led by Luiz Felipe Scolari. He has won all nine matches since taking over national team after the World Cup.
Brazil began its Copa America preparations on June 1 in Rio de Janeiro.
It still hasn’t been decided if Neymar will play on Wednesday against Honduras at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre.
“He’s a great player. Everybody knows that he makes a difference,” Coutinho said. “We have to learn to play without him, but we know that when he arrives we will gain a lot of quality. We will become a stronger team.”
Dunga has already lost several players because of injuries ahead of the tournament in Chile, including playmaker Oscar, left back Marcelo and defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo.
Brazil has won four of the last six Copa Americas, including two of the last three. After debuting against Peru, it will play Colombia and Venezuela in Group C.
Mexico, which was coming off a 1-1 draw in a warmup against Peru, is in Group A along with host Chile, Ecuador and Bolivia.
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