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Brazil held by Costa Rica

AFP – A lacklustre Brazil launched their Copa America campaign with a dour 0-0 draw against Costa Rica yesterday as James Rodriguez inspired Colombia to a 2-1 win over Paraguay.

Brazil, chasing a 10th Copa America crown, dominated possession and territory in the Group ‘D’ game at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles but struggled to break down a resolute Costa Rica.

The Brazilians thought they had taken the lead in the 30th minute after Marquinhos tapped in at the back post after a flick on by Rodrygo following a free-kick by Raphinha.

But after an agonising video assistant referee (VAR) delay, the goal was chalked off for a fractional offside decision as Costa Rica escaped. That was as good as it got for Brazil, who laboured to break down Costa Rica’s defence for the remainder of the game, registering just three shots on target despite enjoying 73.5 per cent possession.

Costa Rica were content to sit back, defending in numbers and rarely venturing forward with any purpose. The Costa Ricans failed to have a single shot on goal for the entire game.

Brazil coach Dorival Junior paid tribute to Costa Rica’s defensive organisation.

“They were very well organised from start to finish,” he said. “They were dedicated in everything they did.” Colombia finished the day top of Group ‘D’ after collecting all three points in their deserved win over Paraguay at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

Brazil’s Vinicius Junior and Costa Rica’s Orlando Galo battle for the ball. PHOTO: AP
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