(Copa America) Brazil face easier group games

Sports | 25 Jan 2019 9:58 am

Copa America host Brazil were drawn in a relatively easy group for this year's tournament, where they will face Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru.

The draw was made yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, and gave Argentina the toughest path of the top-seeded teams as it was placed in a group with Colombia, Paraguay and guest nation Qatar.

In the third group, Uruguay will start their campaign against Ecuador, then play against guest Japan before finishing against defending champion Chile.

The top two teams in each group, plus the two best third-place finishers, qualify for the quarterfinals.

Brazil will open the tournament on June 14 at Sao Paulo's Morumbi stadium against Bolivia, a team that have not reached the World Cup since 1994. Venezuela have never qualified for soccer's top event, while Peru played in its first World Cup since 1982 last year in Russia.

Brazil's coach Tite agreed his team will not face the toughest opponents in group stage.

"We are aware of that, but we are also aware we need to play well and win those games,'' Tite said.

Copa America is seen as massive test for the coach, who had his contract extended for four years after the elimination against Belgium in the World Cup, a rare event in Brazilian soccer.

The Brazilian coach said he will fly to Paris this weekend to check how Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar is doing after an injury that could keep him out of action for months, which could affect his preparations for Copa America.

Seeking to end its title drought that dates to the 1993 Copa America, Argentina will face Colombia on June 15 in Salvador before playing Paraguay four days later in Belo Horizonte. Its last match in the group stage will be on June 23, against the Qatari in Porto Alegre, a Southern Brazil city close to the Argentinian border.-AP

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