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Brazil-Venezuela in Copa opener; final set for Rio

Hosts Brazil will open the Copa America with a game against Venezuela in the capital Brasilia while the final will be played at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said on Wednesday.

The tournament, held over from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was shifted to Brazil on Monday after original co-hosts Argentina and Colombia were replaced at the last minute.

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It will be the second time in a row the tournament has been hosted in Brazil and comes despite concerns about the health situation in the country, which saw almost 100,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday along with more than 2,500 deaths, according to government data.

More than 460,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19.

The Copa will go ahead, however, with Brazil kicking off Group B against Venezuela at the Mane Garrincha stadium on June 13. Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are also in the group.

Argentina open their campaign at Rio’s Nilton Santos stadium against Chile on June 14. The group also features Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Sources have told ESPN Brasil that Argentina players are upset about the decision to move the tournament and they even voiced their objections with players from the other countries.

Rio is the only city where two stadiums will be used, with the other venues in Goiania and Cuiaba.

The semifinals are scheduled for the Nilton Santos stadium on July 5 and the Mane Garrincha a day later.

The Maracana will host the final, the only match to be played there, on July 10.

Source espn

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