Brazil made a terrible start to their Copa America campaign as they were held
to a goalless draw by minnows Venezuela in La Plata.
The defending champions looked devoid of ideas and Venezuela had chances to
secure a shock win with Brazil looking anything but solid at the back.
Mano Menezes' side had opened confidently and dominated possession, with Paulo
Henrique Ganso to the fore, but they struggled to break down a packed Venezuelan
Andre Santos was another to look lively but the best chance of the opening half
fell to AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, who hit the crossbar after being set up
by Daniel Alves.
Brazil had appeals for a penalty turned down when a Robinho shot was deflected
away for a corner by Oswaldo Vizcarrondo, with the referee deciding the ball had
not struck the defender's arm.
Menezes sent Fred, Elano and Lucas on after the break in an effort to inject
some life into a stale performance but they remained unable to create genuine
And during the final quarter they found themselves under pressure as Venezuela
counter-attacked sharply as their more illustrious opponents desperately pushed
for a winner.
Juan Fernando Arango failed to capitalise after being set up on the edge of the
Brazil box while Tomas Rincon was also off target.
Neymar attempted to carve out a late winner for Brazil but Venezuela held out
for one of their most famous results.