Brazil wakes up in 2nd half to ease past Bolivia in Copa America opener
PEDRO UGARTE / AFP / Getty

Philippe Coutinho's quick-fire double and a beauty from Everton led Brazil to victory in its Copa America opener against Bolivia on Friday.

Coutinho endured a difficult 2018-19 season for Barcelona, but he briefly forgot his club concerns with a well-placed penalty and header in the space of three second-half minutes. Everton sealed the 3-0 win with an impressive finish from the edge of the area five minutes before the end of normal time.

It was a peculiar spectacle at the Estadio do Morumbi. Tite opted for two defensive-minded midfielders, Fernandinho and Casemiro, for a game the Canarinho was expected to dominate. The Sao Paulo crowd was fairly muted. And, in what was perhaps the weirdest aspect of the evening, Brazil was wearing a white shirt in a competitive fixture for the first time in over 60 years.

So it was perhaps no great surprise that the first half was disjointed, lacked tempo, and drew boos from spectators.

The awarding of the penalty that Coutinho converted in the 50th minute required the help of VAR. Richarlison hit the ball in the direction of Adrian Jusino from close range, and it was ruled to have hit the Bolivar defender's left hand following review. Coutinho clinically fired his spot kick to the goalkeeper's right.

The second and third goals were what you'd expect from Brazil. Richarlison flicked an inviting ball down the right flank for Roberto Firmino, whose subsequent delivery found an undetected Coutinho at the far post. Then, to sign off the night, substitute Everton cut inside from the left before unleashing an unstoppable finish with his right foot.

Brazil continues its pursuit of Copa America glory on home soil in Tuesday's set-to with Venezuela.

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Brazil wakes up in 2nd half to ease past Bolivia in Copa America opener
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