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Copa America 2024 tips and predictions: Brazil vs Costa Rica - No Neymar, no problem for Selecao

Brazil will face Costa Rica in their first match at Copa America 2024 at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Monday night (Tues 0200 BST).

Pressure is mounting on Brazil after a slow start to World Cup qualifying prompted a change of manager and another tournament without a trophy would be seen as a disaster.

The five-time winners have failed to win their last four matches and already find themselves eight points behind Argentina, who are favourites to win this tournament.

In preparation for the tournament, Dorival Junior’s side were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw against the United States and beat Mexico 3-2 with a 96th-minute goal.

Costa Rica’s build-up to the tournament has been positive. Los Ticos recorded two comfortable wins in World Cup qualifying and held Uruguay to a 0-0 draw.

 

 

 

The Brazilians have dominated head-to-head meetings over the years, winning 10 of 11. However, Costa Rica came close to an upset when they met at the 2006 World Cup.

Philippe Coutinho and Neymar struck in injury time to break hearts in a 2-0 loss during the group stages.

It’s hard to make a case for this group of players being competitive, even if Brazil are struggling, so we’re predicting a win, a clean sheet and plenty of goals for Selecao.

 

Team news

Gabriel, Bremer, Eder Militao, Marquinhos and Beraldo are all fighting for a place in Brazil’s defence.

Dorival Junior left Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison out of the squad.

Neymar’s never-ending absence means Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Raphinha will be tasked with getting the goals.

Ederson is also unavailable due to injury so Liverpool’s Alisson will be between the sticks.

Costa Rica legend Keylor Navas recently retired to leave a noticeable void in goal.

 

Key stats

-  Brazil beat Costa Rica 5-0 and 4-1 in their previous Copa America meetings

-  Brazil have won 10 of 11 meetings between the sides

-  Brazil are unbeaten in 16 meetings with teams from CONCACAF

-  Costa Rica have won at least one match at their last four visits to Copa America

-  Paulo Wanchope is the only Costa Rican to score more than one goal at Copa America

 

Suggested bets

Brazil to win both halves

Brazil to win to nil

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