Brazil got their home Copa America off to a winning start at Morumbi Stadium, Sao Paulo, thanks to goals from Coutinho (2) and Everton. Quick-fire second half goal from the Barcelona struggler Coutinho, the second from the spot, and a late finish from Gremio star Everton put some gloss on what was a largely disappointing performance- with the home team booed off the pitch at half time and met with silence for large swathes of the game.
The opprobrium could have been worse but for the 20,000 empty seats littering the stadium. As we’ve mentioned before, Brazil, like so many countries these days, has gone for fewer people in more expensive seats as their business model; a model that can only further serve to alienate fans in a country were the minimum wage barely- if at all- covers the cost of living.
Those that could afford the R$180 minimum ticket price voiced their displeasure as a guileless and unimaginative home side crossed endlessly to no one in particular. In scenes reminiscent of last year’s World Cup group stages, it was Coutinho to the rescue. However, without their trouble talisman Neymar, it seems this team will have to find someone else to share the creative burden as they undoubtedly creak through to the next round from a weak group. Will there be someone able to carry the expectations of the home crowd or could Brazil be facing the idea of not winning it on home soil for the first time in their Copa history?