Naby Keita admitted he is "not 100 per cent" but reassured his Guinea team-mates he expects to be ready for their Africa Cup of Nations opener against Madagascar on June 22.

The Liverpool midfielder has been recovering from an adductor muscle injury since the Reds' Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona in May and was initially ruled out for eight weeks.

Guinea disputed Liverpool's initial diagnosis and the 24-year-old made a quicker recovery than expected, and national team coach Paul Put indicated Keita will be involved in Sunday's friendly against Egypt.

Keita told Foot 224: "I'm going to work now. I am not 100 per cent but when I was in Liverpool, I started training with the ball.

"As I'm here now I'm going to train with the team to see.

"To reassure the Guinean fans, the coach and the team-mates, I think I'll be ready for the first match."

Before his injury, Keita made 25 Premier League appearances in his first season at Liverpool, scoring two goals while competing for a place with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabinho.

Ex-Kenya coach Put said Liverpool took some persuading to release the former RB Leipzig playmaker, saying: "I put a lot of pressure on Liverpool to [send him] as soon as possible.

"In the end, I said that if Naby does not come now, it will be difficult to put [him on] the list for the Africa Cup of Nations.

"He said he will play against Egypt."

Brazil boss Tite is optimistic midfielder Arthur will be fit for the Copa America after an injury scare.

The Barcelona player was caught by a poor challenge from Honduras winger Romell Quioto, who was sent off, during Brazil's 7-0 friendly victory.

Although Arthur was treated before being substituted, concerns about the state of his affected knee were soon allayed by coach Tite.

He said to reporters: "Arthur is fine. I spoke to him. He told me it was just a knock. And I saw in his face that he is well.

"I don't want to second-guess the doctor, he'll confirm all this for you, but from his mood, I saw it was just a knock."

Hosts Brazil begin their Copa America campaign against Bolivia on Friday in Sao Paulo, with star man Neymar already ruled out of the tournament by injury.

They then face Venezuela and Peru as they seek a first continental triumph since 2007.

Thiago Silva called on Philippe Coutinho to step up for Brazil in Neymar's absence at the Copa America.

Brazil thrashed a 10-man Honduras 7-0 in their final friendly before the tournament on Sunday, with Coutinho scoring a penalty and providing an assist.

Neymar will miss the Copa America due to an ankle injury in a huge blow for the hosts, who are considered among the favourites.

Silva acknowledged Coutinho had endured a tough campaign at Barcelona, but he hopes the attacker can deliver with Neymar sidelined.

"The collective game comes first. Coutinho had a difficult season in Barcelona. It was demanding and they booed him many times, but here in the team he is our reference, especially when we don't have Neymar," he said.

"Coutinho calls for the game. In the two friendlies we played he was the best player on the pitch, not only because of passes and goals, but also with his defence. He is finding his happiness again.

"I'm very happy and not at all comfortable talking about this player because we are very close.

"In the first friendly, I tried to pass him some calmness, and I told Neymar also to give him help.

"We need him, especially now with the absence of Neymar."

Brazil open their Copa campaign against Bolivia on Friday.

Mexico's perfect record under Gerardo Martino continued with an entertaining 3-2 win over Ecuador in Texas on Sunday.

Ecuador had twice come from behind at AT&T Stadium, goals from Angel Mena and Ayrton Preciado cancelling out efforts from Jonathan dos Santos and Luis Montes.

But Mexico found a late winner in their final game before the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Luis Rodriguez's 77th-minute volley settling the encounter.

Ecuador were almost gifted a dream start, Mexico defender Rodriguez clearing a ball into his own post after goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa pushed away a cross from the right.

But that would be one of Ecuador's only chances in the first half as Mexico dominated.

Orbelin Pineda forced a save from Maximo Banguera after being played in by Dos Santos in the 18th minute, before later seeing a shot deflected wide.

Mexico continued to build into the encounter, Montes shooting over from range before Dos Santos' second international goal.

The LA Galaxy midfielder ran at the Ecuador defence before curling a beautiful effort from 25 yards into the bottom corner.

While Mexico went into the break ahead, their advantage disappeared just two minutes into the second half.

Mena, introduced at half-time, saw a 25-yard free-kick deflect off the wall, wrong-footing Ochoa and finding the back of the net.

Mexico restored their lead just after the hour-mark through Montes, who produced a moment of magic with a free-kick of his own.

After a clumsy handball led to the free-kick being awarded, Montes curled a strike over the wall and into the top corner from just outside the area.

However, Mexico's lead lasted just three minutes before Preciado headed in a Mena corner for his first international goal to bring Ecuador level once more.

The winner came through Rodriguez, who volleyed in Jesus Gallardo's delivery at the back post with his maiden strike at international level.

What does it mean? Mexico show why they are Gold Cup favourites

This win made it four from four for Martino since he took charge of Mexico in January. The victory over Ecuador added to wins against Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela, showing why Mexico go into the Gold Cup as favourites.

Dos Santos finds goal-scoring form for Mexico

It took Dos Santos 40 games to score his first international goal, but his effort against Ecuador marked his second in as many Mexico outings. It was a fine strike from distance, adding another element to Mexico that Martino will surely find useful in the future.

More injury woes for Mexico

Just days after Edson Alvarez was hurt against Venezuela, there was another injury worry for Mexico. Hector Moreno came off in the first half with a suspected muscle injury, adding another unwanted concern for Martino.

What's next?

Mexico begin their Gold Cup campaign against Cuba on Saturday, while Ecuador face Uruguay in their Copa America opener on June 16.

Brazil romped to a 7-0 victory over 10-man Honduras in their final friendly before hosting the Copa America, but lost Arthur to injury.

Tite's men were already 2-0 up thanks to Gabriel Jesus and Thiago Silva headers when Romell Quioto was sent off for an awful challenge on Arthur, who was substituted after receiving treatment on his right knee.

Philippe Coutinho scored a penalty, Jesus added his second and David Neres hit his first international goal after the break as Brazil warmed up for the Copa America in style.

Roberto Firmino came off the bench to extend the lead and Richarlison was also on target as the 10 men struggled to contain Brazil, who will be without Neymar for the upcoming tournament due to an ankle injury.

Jesus headed Brazil into an early lead, the Manchester City striker nodding in a right-wing Dani Alves cross at the back post with the goal surviving a lengthy VAR check.

The second goal arrived in just the 12th minute as Silva stole in front of his marker to guide a near-post header across goalkeeper Luis Lopez from a left-wing Coutinho corner.

Honduras were then reduced to 10 men when Quioto was dismissed for a horrible tackle that ended Arthur's participation in the game.

Coutinho extended Brazil's lead by converting a penalty awarded for Emilio Izaguirre's foul on Richarlison, then the Barcelona forward thudded a long-range drive against the woodwork.

Goals continued to flow after the break. Jesus helped himself to a simple second when Richarlison unselfishly nodded Fernandinho's lofted pass into his path, before Neres opened his international account with a fine solo run and finish.

Jesus was replaced by Firmino and the Liverpool forward dinked a clever chip over goalkeeper Lopez to add his name to the scoresheet in the 65th minute.

Honduras were increasingly unable to cope in defence due to Brazil's numerical advantage and the general gulf in quality, with Everton setting up Richarlison for a tap-in to complete the scoring.


What does it mean? Arthur injury could be costly

Neymar has already been ruled out of the Copa America after damaging his right ankle in a friendly against Qatar and coach Tite may perhaps be fearing Arthur could now follow. 

Tuning up against sides of much lower quality may provide a confidence boost for attackers but their schedule has potentially robbed Brazil of two key players going into the tournament.


Jesus makes his mark

Tite must decide whether to field Firmino or Jesus in attack during the Copa America, with the Manchester City striker making his case with a brace of clinical finishes.

Firmino may have more to his all-round game, but Jesus is a prime penalty box poacher. Even without Neymar, Brazil have attacking riches most of their South American rivals cannot match.


Rash and ridiculous Quioto

There was no chance Quioto could beat Arthur to the ball, so what the Houston Dynamo player was thinking when he lunged into a terrible tackle is difficult to fathom.

It may well have cost the Barcelona star a chance to represent his country in a major tournament on home soil.


What's next?

Copa America hosts Brazil start their campaign against Bolivia on Friday. Honduras will take on Jamaica in their Gold Cup opener on June 17.

Salomon Rondon scored twice to help Venezuela beat the United States for the first time and become his country's all-time leading goalscorer after a 3-0 win that will send Rafael Dudamel's side into the Copa America on a high.

West Brom striker Rondon, who has been linked with a transfer away from the Baggies in recent weeks, put himself very much in the shop window with a match-winning display in which he also provided an assist for Jefferson Savarino to score Venezuela's second as a sorry USA side were torn apart.

USA coach Gregg Berhalter saw his players lose the first game of his time in charge three days earlier when they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Jamaica and will have been concerned by a defensive horror show in which they conceded three goals inside 20 first-half minutes.

Venezuela's opener came courtesy of calamitous USA defending as goalkeeper Zack Steffen gifted a clearance to Yangel Herrera who fed Jhon Murillo and he laid the ball back to Rondon for a bundled shot into the net.

It was Rondon's flicked header that allowed Savarino to go through on goal moments later, the Real Salt Lake winger scoring at the second time of asking after his first shot came back off the post.

Rondon timed a run superbly on 36 minutes and brought Tomas Rincon's long ball under control before composing himself and rattling a left-footed shot into the corner of the net, beating Steffen at his near post from close range.

The hosts failed to improve after half-time, mustering just four shots across the course of the game, and Berhalter will demand better when they take on Guyana in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in under two weeks' time.

Meanwhile, Venezuela will go into their Copa America opener against Peru on Saturday in high spirits after a historic win and an unforgettable night for their in-form striker.

Arthur was substituted after he was injured in a horror tackle by Honduras' Romell Quioto in Brazil's final friendly before the Copa America.

The Barcelona midfielder had to be carried off the field after Quioto caught him with a high, late, two-footed challenge on Sunday at Estadio Beira-Rio.

Brazil are already without their star forward Neymar for the tournament on home soil after he damaged his right ankle in a warm-up game against Qatar.

Chelsea winger Willian was called up as the replacement for Neymar rather than the Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior.

Head coach Tite will require a quick diagnosis on Arthur as Brazil are set to begin their campaign against Bolivia on Friday.

Brazil led Honduras 3-0 at half-time despite losing Arthur to injury with Gabriel Jesus, Thiago Silva and Philippe Coutinho all on target.

Tite is upset Neymar will sit out the Copa America through injury as the Brazil head coach described him as the third-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hosts Brazil will be without Neymar for the upcoming Copa America, which starts on June 14, after the star forward suffered an ankle injury in Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over Qatar.

Neymar is facing four weeks on the sidelines after being reassessed by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, with Brazil drafting in Willian as a replacement.

It is a blow for Tite and Brazil, who are seeking their ninth Copa title and first since 2007 following the Selecao's group-stage exit in 2016.

Asked about Neymar prior to Sunday's final warm-up match against Honduras, Tite told reporters: "My feelings [in relation to Neymar] is of concern for the human side and for him to be in good health.

"And second, I have concern and regret not having a player of his quality, he is a top-three player in the world. For me, apart from Messi and Ronaldo, he compares to [Eden] Hazard, but he has an advantage over Hazard, they think the same way, but he [Neymar] runs the plays faster.

"He is the player that we ask for. I'm talking about the athlete, not all the other circumstances behind it. I told him that. And that's my opinion."

Neymar's absence comes amid a rape allegation against the PSG forward following an incident in the French capital on May 15.

Neymar vehemently denies the accusation and posted an Instagram video on June 2, in which he claimed the allegations are an attempt to "extort" him.

The 27-year-old revealed private messages he said were exchanged between himself and the woman, which included intimate photos. 

The Computer Crime Investigation Office (DRCI) in Rio de Janeiro opened an investigation following the release of the pictures and Neymar was summoned to answer questions on Thursday.

"It is clear the situations that happen out of the field affects us, with all the people involved in the Selecao," Tite said. "But you asked about the news... Inside our team we give much more attention to our work, to train well, and prepare for the next games. 

"Of course other things happen - I know you're talking about Neymar, but this is related to everyone. The players we select, the line-up, the set pieces, the ball possession, our aggressiveness and verticalization. There are other important things to worry about. Because our responsibility is to play well, be consistent and have good results. Creativity, consistency and results... No matter what the news is or is going to be."

Brazil will open the tournament against Bolivia in Sao Paulo on Friday before facing Venezuela (June 18) and Peru (June 22) in Group A.

Paris Saint-Germain expect Neymar to recover in four weeks after the Brazil star suffered an ankle injury on international duty.

Neymar was ruled out of the Copa America with a ligament rupture in his right ankle sustained during Wednesday's 2-0 friendly win over Qatar.

The 27-year-old left the ground in tears as he was carried down the tunnel in the first half before the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) confirmed the PSG forward's absence from the Copa America, which gets underway on June 14.

PSG reassessed Neymar and the Ligue 1 champions said he will not require surgery after being diagnosed by the club's doctors.

"On Saturday 8 June, Paris Saint-Germain's first team doctor, Dr Laurent Aumont, and the club's medical board member and leading figure in sport medicine Professor Gerard Saillant assessed the injury picked up by Neymar Jr in Brazil's preparation match for the Copa America last Wednesday," PSG's statement read.

"The two doctors diagnosed a sprain of the lateral ligament of the right ankle without surgical indication, to be treated with conservative treatment.

"The Paris Saint-Germain striker is expected to return on the field in four weeks' time."

Neymar has been replaced by Willian in Brazil's squad for the upcoming Copa America, which the Selecao will host following Sunday's friendly against Honduras.

PSG's Neymar netted 15 Ligue 1 goals and 23 across all competitions for the French champions in 2018-19.

 

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez felt Luis Suarez did not look like a man who had just missed a month with a knee injury as the forward made a goalscoring return on Friday.

Suarez had not played since Barcelona's torrid 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final second leg in early May, undergoing surgery on a troublesome knee problem.

But he came off the bench shortly after the hour in Montevideo, netting a fine free-kick to help his country to a 3-0 friendly win over Panama.

With their Copa America opener against Ecuador just over a week away, Tabarez was thrilled to see his talisman make such a smooth transition back into competitive action.

"For us he is a crucial player, he has been sending us videos from his recovery and they have been amazing," Tabarez said.

"Today he looked as if he had played seven, eight games before this one.

"This is what he is, he has a great commitment with football for this nation, and a lot of desire to repeat triumphs from the past. So, based on what I saw today, I can assure he will contribute to the team.

"Can he endure 90 minutes on the pitch? I will know it when we play against Ecuador."

Uruguay skipper Diego Godin added: "Yes, Luis is OK, his recovery has been perfect. Obviously those were the first minutes, he will be getting better this week because he just started to train with other players last week, so he will start the Copa in top condition and that is good news for us."

Lionel Messi was the hero again as Argentina wrapped up their Copa America preparations with a 5-1 rout of minnows Nicaragua.

Messi scored two goals in two minutes to lead Argentina past Nicaragua on Friday before Lionel Scaloni's men fly out to Brazil for the Copa America.

Having ended his international absence in March's shock loss to Venezuela, Messi opened the scoring with a stunning solo effort in the 37th minute.

After dancing his way past three defenders for the opener, Messi rebounded a Sergio Aguero shot just seconds later to take his international tally to 67 goals.

Lautaro Martinez came off the bench and scored a second-half brace against the Central American visitors, while Roberto Pereyra added a fifth late on before Nicaragua's Juan Barrera converted a 91st-minute penalty to put a blemish on Argentina's performance.

Argentina dominated from the outset, though Nicaragua proved dogged opposition in San Juan, where Messi was in the thick of the action.

Aguero – earning his 90th cap – almost slid in to break the deadlock before Messi wasted a golden chance in the 12th minute after receiving a lofted ball from Giovani Lo Celso, only to fail to make proper contact from close range.

Matias Suarez then struck the post approaching the half-hour mark, though the home side eventually got their goal thanks to Messi's brilliance.

Messi weaved and shimmied three defenders before firing low past Nicaragua goalkeeper Justo Lorente into the net.

Nicaragua were barely able to recover as Messi converted a rebound after Lorente could only parry Aguero's shot in the Barcelona superstar's path.

That proved to be Messi and Aguero's final contributions – the pair making way for Paulo Dybala and Martinez.

And Inter's Martinez sealed the victory by curling a shot into the bottom corner of the net with 27 minutes remaining, before firing home a fourth from close range 10 minutes later.

Fellow substitute Pereyra then drifted in at the back post and tapped in for the simplest of goals during the final nine minutes, however, Nicaragua spoiled Argentina's clean sheet via a stoppage-time penalty after a Nicolas Otamendi handball.

 

What does it mean? Argentina ready for Copa America

Or as ready as they can be. Scaloni has tried to expose as much international football to his players as possible. Runners-up in 2015 and 2016, Argentina head into the major South American tournament with back-to-back wins and four in five.

Messi magic masterminds another win

A 45-minute appearance was enough for Messi to inspire Argentina at Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario. Fresh off winning a sixth European Golden Shoe following 36 LaLiga goals, Messi's quick-fire brace set the tone for Argentina. The 31-year-old was lively throughout, trying to create in the opening half.

Argentina hardly tested

With James Rodriguez and Colombia waiting next, Scaloni perhaps may have wanted a greater test, especially for his defenders. Franco Armani had little to do between the sticks, except for picking the ball out of the back of the net after Otamendi was penalised for handball at the death.

What's next?

Argentina will open their Copa America campaign against Colombia in Salvador on June 15, while Nicaragua face co-hosts Costa Rica in their CONCACAF Gold Cup opener a day later.

Luis Suarez marked his return from a knee injury with a brilliant goal in Uruguay's 3-0 win over Panama in an international friendly on Friday.

Suarez underwent knee surgery after Barcelona's Champions League exit last month and his return was a welcome sight for Uruguay ahead of the Copa America.

The star forward came on for the final half-hour in Montevideo, where he struck with a free-kick six minutes after being introduced to add to Maxi Gomez's first-half header.

Another substitute, Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde, sealed Uruguay's win with a fine strike.

Edinson Cavani also came off the bench for Uruguay, who open their Copa America campaign against Ecuador on June 16.

Fouls ruined the early flow of the game, although Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was tested by a long-range Fidel Escobar strike.

But Gomez opened the scoring for the hosts in the 19th minute with his second international goal.

After a throw-in on the right, Giorgian De Arrascaeta's lovely cross was headed in by Gomez from close range.

Uruguay pushed following their opener and De Arrascaeta poked a rebound wide after Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia could only parry a tame Nahitan Nandez shot.

There was a brief injury worry for Uruguay as Diego Godin went down clutching his arm before half-time, while Matias Vecino had a volley pushed around the post by Mejia.

Suarez needed little time to have an impact, scoring his 56th international goal in the 69th minute.

The star forward curled a wonderful 20-yard free-kick into the top corner, giving Mejia no chance.

Valverde wrapped up Uruguay's win in the 79th minute, brilliantly volleying into the bottom corner from 25 yards after a cross from the right was cleared into his path.

Hwang Ui-jo's second goal in as many meetings with Australia gave South Korea a late 1-0 win in a largely drama-free friendly in Busan on Friday.

The Gamba Osaka striker scored nine minutes after stepping off the bench in the second half to condemn an experimental Socceroos side to defeat.

Graham Arnold's new-look team otherwise performed well in the absence of Premier League pair Aaron Mooy and Mat Ryan, having been the better side in the first half.

Hwang's goal added to the one he converted when these teams met in a 1-1 draw in Brisbane in November and secured boss Paulo Bento a third successive victory since a disappointing Asian Cup.

Lionel Scaloni hopes Lionel Messi can just produce "what he does every Sunday" as Argentina target success at the Copa America.

Argentina will face Nicaragua on Friday in their final friendly before their Copa campaign begins against Colombia on June 15.

Messi is still bidding to win his first senior title with Argentina, and his performances for the national team have often been criticised.

Scaloni believes his nation can be successful as a team, if Messi can deliver what he does regularly for Barcelona.

"If we have a good performance as a team and, in addition, Messi does what he does every Sunday, we will surely do well," he told a news conference on Thursday.

Scaloni named Messi, Manchester City star Sergio Aguero and River Plate forward Matias Suarez to lead his attack against Nicaragua.

The former Argentina international hailed his side's attacking talent, saying: "We know we have pure dynamite up there.

"So, if we are solid, we will have many possibilities."

Chile scored two goals in as many minutes to overcome minnows Haiti 2-1 in their pre-Copa America friendly on Thursday.

Quick-fire goals from Eduardo Vargas and Jose Fuenzalida in the second half spared Chile's blushes before La Roja fly out to Brazil to begin their title defence.

Playing their final warm-up match before the country's Copa America opener against guests Japan on June 17, Chile dominated but trailed at half-time.

CONCACAF Gold Cup participants Haiti – who were invited to take part in the Centenario edition in 2016 – silenced the crowd in La Serena when Frantzdy Pierrot outmuscled two opponents and poked the ball past Brayan Cortes in the 26th minute.

Arturo Vidal and Vargas threatened for Chile in the absence of Manchester United star Alexis Sanchez but the hosts were unable to find the back of the net.

Chile continued to push forward and after numerous opportunities, the two-time reigning South American champions equalised via Vargas with 21 minutes remaining.

And fans barely finished celebrating Chile's leveller when Fuenzalida bundled home the eventual winner after Vargas' initial shot was blocked.

 

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