Sao Paulo, Jun 15 (AP/UNB) — Philippe Coutinho helped Brazil overcome the absence of Neymar by scoring twice in Brazil's 3-0 win over Bolivia in the opening match of the Copa America on Friday.
Coutinho converted a penalty kick awarded by video review in the 50th minute and headed in a cross by Roberto Firmino in the 53rd, helping the hosts overcome a lackluster first half that prompted jeers by the local crowd at halftime.
Substitute Everton also scored in the second half to help ignite the fans at the Morumbi Stadium, keeping Brazil on track for its first South American title since 2007.
Brazil's debut came with Neymar still attracting most of the attention even though he is not playing in the tournament because of an ankle injury. Neymar on Thursday appeared at a police station amid a media frenzy to answer questions about a rape allegation from a Brazilian woman who visited him in Paris. He has denied wrongdoing.
Brazil felt Neymar's absence in the first half, with its attack unable to do much against the Bolivian defense. Young Ajax forward David Neres, replacing Neymar in the starting lineup, couldn't add the spark Brazil needed up front. Firmino and Richarlison also couldn't get anything going early on, leading to the halftime jeers by most in the crowd of 46,342 at the Morumbi.
It didn't take long for Brazil to get the crowd back on board in the second half, with Coutinho opened the scoring from the penalty spot after video review determined a handball by Bolivia defender Adrian Jusino.
The midfielder quickly added the second minutes later with a close-range header after Firmino's well-placed cross.
Everton, who replaced Neres, sored the third goal with a right-footed shot from outside the area after clearing a couple of defenders.
Brazil next faces Venezuela in Group A, while Bolivia hosts Peru. Venezuela and Peru play their opener on Sunday in Porto Alegre.
An eight-time Copa America champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989.
Brazil was wearing a white jersey in honor of the 100th anniversary of the team's first South American title in 1919.
Bolivia won its lone Copa America title in 1963 at home. It didn't get past the group stage in 2016, but made it to the quarterfinals in the 2015 tournament.
Among those at the Morumbi on Friday was Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.
Sao Paulo, Jun 15 (AP/UNB) — Brazilian fans have sung homophobic chants during Copa America's opening match at the Morumbi stadium.
Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe heard the slurs several times Friday, chanted by thousands of Brazil fans behind his goal in Brazil's 3-0 victory.
Homophobic chants were overlooked in South America until recently. They usually take place when the visiting goalkeeper runs to take a goal kick.
Brazilian stadia started seeing a wave of homophobic chants after the 2014 World Cup the South American country hosted.
Governing body FIFA has repeatedly fined the Brazilian soccer confederation for homophobic chants.
On Thursday, Brazil's top court ruled homophobia is a crime akin to racism. Perpetrators of prejudice against homosexuals will be jailed between one and three years.
Le Havre, Jun 15 (AP/UNB) — As roommates at the Women's World Cup, Jodie Taylor and Beth Mead have built a connection that helped lead England into the second round of the tournament.
Mead delivered a low cross from the left flank and Taylor sneaked into a central location, nudging the ball into the net to earn a 1-0 victory over Argentina on Friday and secure England's place in the second round with a game to spare in Group D.
"I just knew where Beth was going to play it," Taylor said. "It must be roommates becoming more connected. It was such a good ball from Beth. I do believe the closer you are as a team the better your performance will be on the pitch."
Argentina had frustrated England for 61 minutes and goalkeeper Vanina Correa was nearly flawless — she even stopped a penalty kick — until Taylor and Mead connected on the game-winning goal.
Taylor's goal ended a 540-day scoring drought that had stymied the Golden Boot winner from the 2017 European Championship.
"It's not until people start bringing it up that you start thinking about it," said Taylor, who plays in the U.S. for the Seattle Reign.
England had to be patient against the resilient Argentines, who collected their first ever World Cup point in an opening draw against Japan. Finding a way past Correa wasn't easy.
The 35-year-old goalkeeper was coaxed back into competition after giving birth to twins in 2017 and her appearance in this tournament makes Correa the only Argentine woman to appear in three World Cups.
"Generally, for women goalkeepers, things are changing, we're having better training," she said. "It's not nice to criticize goalkeepers even if we do sometimes make mistakes."
Jill Scott discovered how hard it would be to beat Correa in the 13th minute when her header was collected.
While Nikita Parris scored the first England goal in the opening 2-1 victory over Scotland on Sunday, she missed her chance to do it again. After Linda Bravo's sliding tackle brought down Alex Greenwood, Parris sent her spot kick to the right and Correa pushed it onto the post.
Correa's hand denied Parris, and her foot thwarted Mead just before halftime. When Fran Kirby hooked a ball through to Mead, the low shot was turned away by Correa's outstretched right boot.
"We were thinking when is it actually going to go in?" Alex Greenwood said.
Particularly when in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Parris had a shot saved and Taylor's header was collected by Correa before she was finally beaten.
"I told Jodie before the game that I knew she would score," England coach Phil Neville said. "You reap your rewards from your training performances. She thrives off service, she thrives off balls through and the support from around her."
England has opened a World Cup with back-to-back wins for the first time and advanced to the next round ahead of its final Group D match against Japan. Italy, France and Germany are also already through to the round of 16 with a game to spare.
Paris, Jun 15 (AP/UNB) — The goalkeeper who allowed 13 goals when the United States routed Thailand at the Women's World Cup has thanked Carli Lloyd for offering words of encouragement following the humiliating defeat.
Lloyd sought out Sukanya Chor Charoenying immediately following the record-breaking U.S. national team's victory. Sukanya wasn't even expected to start in Tuesday's opener but got the nod over Waraporn Boonsing.
"Thanks so much, Lloyd. Your words that you told me make me strong," Sukanya posted in appreciation to Lloyd on Twitter, adding emojis including Thailand's flag, a heart and an American flag. "Keep going for this tournament and so on. Firstly, I felt disappointment in worst situation but this is the biggest experience in my life."
The United States was criticized after the opener for running up the score and celebrating after all 13 goals. Players defended the score, pointing to the importance of goal differential in the group stage and the excitement of scoring on the sport's biggest stage.
On Friday, Lloyd said she felt empathy for the Thai team and wanted to comfort the goalkeeper, but that she wasn't sure if Sukanya understood what she said. Lloyd said she told her to keep her chin up.
"Obviously I'm a player and this team is full of players who want to battle it out, who want to go full throttle, but we are human, and there is a human element to it. And you've got to feel for a goalkeeper letting in 13 goals," Lloyd said. "If you don't, I don't think you have much of a heart."
The lopsided score in Reims set a World Cup record for both goals and margin of victory. Alex Morgan tied a tournament record with five goals.
But the 5-foot-5 Sukanya also made a good number of saves, too.
Lloyd passed on more encouragement to her on Twitter .
"All you can do is give it your best each and every day. Keep fighting and never give up!! Still 2 more games to play," she wrote.
Lloyd, who came into the game late, was among the players who scored. The United States next plays Chile on Sunday in Paris.
Dhaka, Jun 14 (UNB) – The 17th round of the 13-team Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Football will resume Saturday after the Eid vacation and joint pre-qualification matches for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 between Bangladesh and Laos.
Two matches are scheduled for the day at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here.
Defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited will take on Rahmatganj MFS here at 4pm while Sheikh Jamal DC will face off bottom-placed Team BJMC at 7pm.
On the following day (Sunday), Arambagh KS will play against Chattogram Abahani Ltd. at 4pm while Sheikh Russel KC will face Dhaka Mohammedan SC at 7pm.
Bashundhara Kings comfortably dominated the league after round 16 as the lone unbeaten team securing 43 points from 15 matches while defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited followed them with 36 points from 15 encounters.
On the other hand, two bottom-placed teams Brothers Union and Team BJMC are still in the relegation zone. Brothers Union collected 9 points from 14 matches while Team BJMC 5 points from 15 matches.
Standings of the BPL Football after first phase matches: (Tabulating under match played, win, draw, loss, goal for/goal against, goal difference and points)
Team MP W D L F A D P
Bashundhara Kings 15 14 1 0 33 8 +25 43
Dhaka Abahani 15 12 0 3 34 14 +20 36
Sheikh Russel 14 10 3 1 21 6 +15 33
Saif 15 9 3 3 23 13 +10 30
Arambagh 15 6 2 7 18 17 +1 20
Sheikh Jamal 15 4 6 5 17 18 -1 18
Abahani Chittagong 15 4 6 5 14 15 -1 18
Muktijoddha SKC 15 4 4 7 18 22 -4 16
Rahmatgonj MFS 15 3 6 6 16 26 -10 15
Mohammedan Dhaka 15 3 4 8 14 27 -13 13
NoFeL SC 14 2 3 9 7 20 -13 9
Brothers Union 14 2 3 9 11 26 -15 9
Team BJMC 15 0 5 10 4 18 -14 5