Brazil before the game against Venezuela / CA2015.COM

Brazil put behind them the absence of Neymar, ruled out for the rest of the Copa América following his red card against Colombia, to claim top spot in Group C with a xxx win over Venezuela. The team coached by Dunga had never lost against the 'vinotinto' in official competition and once Thiago Silva put Brazil ahead early on then an upset always looked unlikely. Firminho doubled their advantage six minutes into the second half and the game looked all but over at that point. Nevertheless, a Venezuela side needing a draw to progress in the tournament pulled one back six minutes from time through Miku. In the end Brazil did enough to hold on for an important three points which means they will now play Paraguay in the quarter-finals.

Changes to Brazil side

Brazil coach Dunga made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Colombia in their previous group match. With Neymar suspended, Robinho came into the starting 11 and in midfielder Fred was left out and Liverpool's Phillipe Coutinho was included in his place. Venezuela, semi-finalists in 2011, for their part came into the clash without the experienced former Athletic Bilbao defender Amorebieta who was suspended following his red card in the 1-0 defeat against Peru. The 'canarinha' knew that a win would allow them to top the group and avoid a possible clash with Argentina in the quarter-finals. The eight times Copa América champions got off to an excellent start when Thiago Silva volleyed home Robinho's corner to put them 1-0 ahead in the Estadio Monumental in Santiago. Venezuela were always up against it after conceding an early goal, knowing as they did that they had to claim a point to make it into the quarter-finals. Dunga's side built on the momentum of the early goal and could have had a second when Robinho fired over from a pass by Barça right back Dani Alves. Five minutes before half time Venezuela keeper Baroja got down well at the near post to deny Robinho and keep his side's deficit to just one goal at half time.

Chances for Brazil, Venezuela pull one back

In the second half Brazil extended their lead on 53 minutes. Chelsea's Willian got the better of Málaga defender Rosales down the left and his excellent cross allowed Firminho the simple task of steering the ball past Baroja to put his side 2-0 up. Venezuela forced a good save from keeper Jefferson when veteran midfielder Arango curled a free kick goalwards not long before the hour mark. PSG defender David Luiz appeared as a second half substitute and contributed a typically flamboyant overhead kick which was well saved by Baroja with ten minutes remaining. Fellow second half substitute and former Valencia and Getafe striker Miku pulled one back with just six minutes remaining, stooping to head home from a rebound after Jefferson had made another good save from an Arango free kick. The Venezuela striker had a final chance to see his side through to the last eight in added time but he could not keep his header down. Brazil, without captain and talisman Neymar, make to the knock out stages where they will face a tough Paraguay side on Saturday.

Copa América quarter final line up:

Chile v Uruguay (Wednesday 24 June, 8.30pm local time)

Bolivia v Peru (Thursday 25 June, 8.30pm local time)

Argentina v Colombia (Friday 26 June, 8.30pm local time)

Brazil v Paraguay (Saturday 27 June, 6.30pm local time)


Brazil: Jefferson, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Filipe Luís; Fernandinho, Elias, Philippe Coutinho (Diego Tardelli), Willian; Robinho (Marquinhos) e Firmino (David Luiz).

Venezuela: Baroja, Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Túñez, Cichero; Rincón, Seijas (González), Guerra (Fedor), Vargas (Martínez), Arango; Rondón

Goals: Thiago Silva (m.8), Firminho (m.53), Miku (min. 84)

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