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Casemiro captains Brazil to opening Copa America win vs Venezuela.

All three of Real Madrid’s Brazilian cohort appeared in La Seleção 3-0 win over Venezuela on Sunday night.

The defending Copa America champions and controversial hosts of the 2021 tournament were led out by Casemiro in the captain’s armband with Real Madrid teammate Eder Militao joining him in the starting lineup. Vinicius Junior started on the bench.

Their opponents have been handling a COVID-19 outbreak in the squad and could manage to fill just seven seats on the substitutes bench (Brazil boasting nearly twice as many). The starting eleven contained just five international goals, two fewer than Thiago Sliva has managed for his country so far.

This all makes grim reading for Venezuela and the first half played out much as one expected in this sense. Brazil missed several good chances to opening scoring, Militao amongst those who spurred a goal scoring opportunity. Marquinhos eventually managed to put Brazil in front from a corner two minutes before halftime.

It wasn’t really a game for Real’s defensive duo to steal the show and although the hosts were quite attacking, Casemiro was disciplined in his defensive role and didn’t see the sort of attacking chances he’s accustomed to at the Spanish capital. Militao, similarly, wasn’t challenged much in defense and, outside of his goal chance, did well with the little that was asked of him.

Neymar eventually doubled Brazil’s lead from the penalty spot after former Madrid full back Danilo was taken down in the box. If the game was one sided at 1-0, it was practically a precession at 2-0.

Vinicius Junior and cantera graduate Fabinho replaced Fred and Gabriel Jesus off the bench with five minutes to go and Brazil rounded off the scoring two minutes later. Neymar, having missed a sitter to make it 3-0 earlier on, took the ball past the keeper and found the chest of Gabrigol to finish at the near post.

Brazil play Peru on Friday in a repeat of the 2019 final and could secure qualification to knockout phase with a win.

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