Defending champions Chile kicked off their bid for a third straight Copa America title with a 4-0 win over Japan in Sau Paulo.
Eduardo Vargas scored a second-half brace as Chile took advantage of too many squandered chances by Japan, one of two teams invited to take part in the South American tournament.
Japan’s youthful side showed promising signs despite the scoreline, with Real Madrid Castilla’s new midfielder Kubo a particular standout, but poor finishing from 20-year-old striker Ayase Ueda opened up the opportunity for Chile to secure a comfortable three points.
Erick Pulgar set up the victory just before the break when he headed in Charles Aranguiz’s corner in the 41st minute and Vargas netted his first nine minutes into the second half.
Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez headed into the top-left corner in the 82nd minute before Vargas quickly added his second a minute later to wrap up the win.
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Argentina arrived at Belo Horizonte after training in El Salvador on Sunday.
La Albiceleste started their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Colombia in the Group B, leaving Lionel Messi’s team with the need of beating Paraguay on Wednesday (19th June) at the Estadio Minerao.
With the top two from each group reaching the quarterfinals, Argentina will qualify if they win their next two games against Paraguay and Qatar.
In addition, the best two team who finished in third place will also qualify.
Watch Messi and his team-mates in the video above:
The tournament hosts held a news conference at their team hotel in Salvador ahead of their second round match against Venezuela on Sunday, with Paris Saint-Germain full-back Alves returning to his home state of Bahia, where he feels that fans are more supportive.
In their first game against Bolivia, most in the crowd of 46,342 at the Estadio do Morumbi in Sao Paulo jeered with the score goalless. Philippe Coutinho’s brace within eight minutes of the restart and Everton Soares’ late strike eventually gave Canarinho a comfortable win, with the men in yellow now taking on Venezuela in their second game as the look to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.
“I always make myself clear that, when you have an extra like Ney(mar), you are a little bit stronger,” said the veteran skipper ahead of the game.
“But when you don’t have him, that doesn’t mean that you are weaker. (With him), you increase your qualities, your power. But it doesn’t decrease if he’s not there. I believe that our responsibility remains the same here at the national team.”