Edinson Cavani said Uruguay are ready to fight for Copa America honours following their rout of Ecuador on Sunday.

Cavani and Luis Suarez scored as Uruguay opened their Group C campaign with a 4-0 demolition of 10-man Ecuador in Belo Horizonte.

Ecuador's Jose Quintero was sent off after Nicolas Lodeiro gave Uruguay a sixth-minute lead and it was one-way traffic from that point.

Cavani, Suarez and an own goal sealed a routine outing for Oscar Tabarez's Uruguay and the former revelled in the result.

"We are ready to fight in the Copa America," Cavani said post-game, with 15-time champions Uruguay seeking their first Copa title since 2011.

"We had chances in the first half, we could do it and that gave us the calm to handle the game. It was an important step."

Cavani, who scored his first Copa goal after 11 matches, added: "We knew they were going to be a very difficult opponent. The important thing was that we entered the game with maximum concentration and we achieved that."

After Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani made it 2-0 past the half-hour mark, Suarez tripled the lead prior to the interval following Quintero's 24th-minute dismissal.

Suarez – who missed the end of Barcelona's season due to knee surgery – converted at the back post to heap further misery on Ecuador.

Mina then turned the ball into his own net with 12 minutes remaining – a goal that had been initially ruled out for offside before being overturned by VAR.

"Obviously, it's a positive result because we play the way we wanted to," Suarez told reporters. "But we played with an extra man in the first half.

"We will play the tournament with the same hope and the same desire prior to today's result."

Uruguay will next meet Copa America guests Japan in Porto Alegre on Thursday.

Eduardo Berizzo believes the Copa America should be exclusive to nations from the Americas after guests Qatar secured a draw against Paraguay on Sunday.

Asian Cup champions Qatar – invited to participate in this year's tournament along with Japan – overturned a two-goal deficit to earn a shock 2-2 draw against Berizzo's Paraguay in their Copa opener.

CONMEBOL has a history of inviting nations to compete, and Asian nation Australia are set to take part in the 2020 edition in Colombia and Argentina.

Reflecting on Paraguay's Group B draw in Rio de Janeiro, head coach Berizzo told reporters: "I think it would make sense to play a Copa America with teams from all the Americas.

"Are you asking me about invited nations, right? About Qatar and Japan? I think we should imagine a whole Copa America, with Central America and North America playing all the same tournament.

"I never saw Europe inviting any South American team to compete.

"Don't take it wrong, maybe it sounds a little acidic today, just after playing against our rival [Qatar]. But I firmly believe Copa America should be played by all the American teams in one tournament – CONCACAF and CONMEBOL together."

Paraguay looked to be on track for a winning start thanks to Oscar Cardozo's fourth-minute penalty before Derlis Gonzalez added an unstoppable second.

Qatar, however, fought back in the second half via Almoez Ali and Juan Rodrigo Rojas – who headed a Boualem Khoukhi effort into his own goal.

"This result disappoints us all, we all want to win, from the fan to the coach," Berizzo said. "We need to mind our rival, our reality, a lot of things that explains a lot about this situation.

"This is a new cycle for the team, there is no way I didn't know Copa America was coming to this date, so I cannot make any excuse of it if we cannot play well, when we play well I will tell you we did it.

"Today we had a hard time finding the ball, especially in the middle of the field, and especially after being 2-0 up. If we would have this done, we should get another result."

Dani Alves believes Brazil are no weaker without Neymar as they chase success at the Copa America.

Neymar was ruled out of the tournament due to an ankle injury in what was a blow to the hosts, who got their campaign underway with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday.

While Alves praised the Paris Saint-Germain star's quality, the Selecao captain feels Brazil are no weaker without the 27-year-old.

"I believe that every time we come to the national team, we wear this shirt, we have to prove it, regardless of whether or not Neymar is there, we have to prove it because we represent a historical team, very respected worldwide," he told a news conference on Sunday.

"But when you have an extra, like Ney, you become a little stronger. But you do not weaken without it, you only increase your qualities, you increase your power, but you do not diminish without him.

"Our responsibility remains the same – we represent a history and we have to defend this history with great honour."

Only Cafu (142) and Roberto Carlos (125) have played more games for Brazil than Alves (110) and the PSG full-back, who is coming out of contract, has no plans to slow down.

Alves said he was eyeing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, but knows he must continue performing.

"It [2022 World Cup] is a goal I have, but I do not allow myself to look too far forward, because when you look far ahead you forget to look at now," he said.

"I cannot forget to look at the now because the opportunities I have to be here can not to be distracted with the future and not with the past. What matters is the present.

"I reinvent myself. When you reach a certain age, you begin to raise doubts, a lot of talk about the selection is renewed or the clubs have to renew, have more players, young people, but both in the clubs and in the national team, it values itself by results."

Brazil take on Venezuela in Salvador on Tuesday in their second game in Group A.

Uruguay got their Copa America campaign off to a perfect start, beating a 10-man Ecuador 4-0 in Belo Horizonte on Sunday.

Nicolas Lodeiro had given Oscar Tabarez's men a sixth-minute lead before Jose Quintero was sent off for Ecuador.

That made an already difficult task even tougher and Uruguay capitalised on their numerical advantage in the first half through goals from star duo Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

Uruguay comfortably saw out their win, added to by an Arturo Mina own goal in the second half, to secure a dream start in Group C, which also includes Japan and two-time reigning champions Chile.

Diego Godin almost gifted Ecuador a first-minute opener after an underhit back pass before Uruguay opened the scoring.

Suarez's cross from the right found Lodeiro, who took two beautiful touches before unleashing into the bottom corner on the half-volley.

Uruguay were already in control and the game turned further in their favour in the 24th minute.

Quintero made contact with the face of Lodeiro in an aerial challenge and was shown a yellow card, only to be sent off by the referee following a lengthy VAR review.

Uruguay pushed on from there, Cavani forcing two fine saves from Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez, including one onto the post after a delightful flick.

But the Paris Saint-Germain forward would double his side's lead in the 33rd minute with his first Copa America goal, acrobatically volleying in from close range after Godin centred a header.

Uruguay went further ahead just before the break, Suarez converting at the back post after Martin Caceres flicked on a corner from Lodeiro.

In control with their three-goal lead, Uruguay were content to simply dictate possession to begin the second half.

But they sealed their win in the 78th minute, Mina scoring an own goal that was initially ruled out for offside before being overturned by the VAR.

 

What does it mean? Perfect start for Uruguay

Uruguay made a group-stage exit at the Copa America Centenario after immediately being put on the back foot following a shock loss to Mexico. This was just the start Tabarez's men needed, and Cavani and Suarez are already off the mark too.

Cavani finally breaks duck

Adding to Uruguay's win, the pressure eased significantly on Cavani after the forward finally scored his first Copa America goal. He appeared to be growing frustrated after being denied twice by Ecuador goalkeeper Dominguez, but he scored his first Copa goal in his 11th game.

Copa crowds a worry

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez admitted he was worried about the poor crowds at the Copa America and this clash was another example. The atmosphere was more comparable to a meaningless friendly than a Copa opener for these two teams, but Dominguez believes the crowds will improve.

What's next?

Uruguay take on guests Japan in Porto Alegre on Thursday, while Ecuador look to bounce back against Chile on Friday.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says he has handed control of all sporting decisions to Leonardo amid reports Neymar is for sale.

France's leading sports newspaper L'Equipe reported on Sunday that Ligue 1 champions PSG will entertain offers for the Brazil superstar if a large enough bid comes in.

Neymar, ruled out of the Copa America by an ankle injury, was brought in from Barcelona two years ago for a world record €222million fee.

A return to Camp Nou has been mooted for the 27-year-old, who is also a long-time reported target of Barcelona's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid.

PSG this week brought back Leonardo in the role of sporting director after he left a similar post at AC Milan, with the Brazilian replacing Antero Henrique in the role.

And speaking in a rare interview with France Football, Al-Khelaifi indicated he will no longer tolerate "celebrity behaviour" at PSG in what was widely interpreted as a veiled dig at Neymar.

He also confirmed Leonardo will have full control of sporting decisions after Henrique's move to banish Adrien Rabiot from PSG's squad over a contract dispute proved controversial.

"I realised that changes were essential, otherwise we were going nowhere," Al-Khelaifi said of the decision to reappoint Leonardo, who was PSG's sporting director between 2011 and 2013.

"In two minutes the case was settled between [me and Leonardo]. He will have all the sporting powers. Leo is my guy. He is incredible. I have total confidence in him. His natural authority will do good for everyone, especially the players."

Thomas Tuchel's side retained their Ligue 1 crown last season but with Neymar again injured they lost in the last 16 of the Champions League, surrendering a first-leg lead against Manchester United.

They also failed to defend their Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France titles, but Tuchel has been rewarded with a new contract.

"Players will have to assume their responsibilities even more than before," Al-Khelaifi added. "It must be completely different.

"They will have to do more, work more. They are not there to please themselves. And if they do not agree, the doors are open. Ciao! I do not want to have any celebrity behaviour anymore."

Group F heavyweights Sweden and the United States eased into the knockout rounds of the Women's World Cup with routine wins on Sunday.

Double figures might have eluded USA on this occasion but their passage to three points against Chile was assured from the early stages in Paris.

Head coach Jill Ellis made eight changes to the team that embarrassed Thailand 13-0 on Tuesday and the big-name inclusion, co-captain Carli Lloyd, confidently set about winning back a starting berth.

Lloyd, 36, punished a poor defensive header with a well-taken opener in the 11th minute and headed in a second before the break, in the process becoming the oldest player to score multiple goals in a Women's World Cup match.

Julie Ertz nodded in a Tierna Davidson corner between her team-mate's brace and only Lloyd's failure to convert a late penalty - along with some excellent goalkeeping from Chile's Christiane Endler - prevented the margin from ballooning beyond 3-0.

USA are still not assured of top spot, though, as Sweden beat Thailand 5-1 in the early kick-off to set up a shootout for first place when the sides meet in in Le Havre on Thursday.

Linda Sembrant got Sweden up and running with just five minutes and 24 seconds played - the earliest goal to be scored in the competition so far - which Kosovare Asllani and Fridolina Rolfo added to before half-time.

The fourth goal was provided by Lina Hurtig nine minutes from the end and, after Kanjana Sung-Ngoen pulled a consolation goal back for Thailand that was celebrated wildly, Elin Rubensson converted from the penalty spot to complete the rout.

Qatar came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Paraguay in their Copa America debut, Rodrigo Rojas heading a Boualem Khoukhi effort into his own goal for a bizarre late equaliser.

Paraguay looked set to claim all three Group B points in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday after taking a fourth-minute lead thanks to Oscar Cardozo's penalty, with Derlis Gonzalez scoring an unstoppable second.

But invited guests Qatar, who won their maiden Asian Cup earlier this year, showed character to fight back and star man Almoez Ali got them back in the game with a curler from outside the box.

And when Khoukhi's shot squeezed through Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez, the backtracking Rojas could only nod the ball in before getting tangled in the net and seemingly damaging his shoulder.

Qatar made a chaotic start in their Copa debut, almost conceding in the first minute before Pedro Miguel gave away a penalty for blocking a Bruno Valdez header with his arm.

Paraguay striker Cardozo had not played at the Copa since 2007 but he stepped up to smash the resulting spot-kick straight down the middle to open the scoring.

Qatar should have levelled in the 16th minute but, arriving unmarked at the back post, Hassan Al Haydos somehow failed to convert a low left-wing cross from Abdelkarim Hassan.

Almoez Ali was denied by Roberto Fernandez on the stroke of half-time, with Paraguay seeing a second goal for Cardozo disallowed by VAR within five minutes of the restart.

Paraguay would not be denied in the 56th minute, however, as half-time substitute Gonzalez unleashed a 25-yard rocket that curled away from the desperate dive of goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.

Scoring nine goals at the Asian Cup marked Ali out as a man to watch and he unleashed a terrific hit from 20 yards to make it 2-1 and spark hope of a comeback.

And when Rojas lacked composure in front of his own goal with 13 minutes to play, Qatar had earned a priceless Copa point to justify their inclusion.

Sevilla made a touching tribute to the late Jose Antonio Reyes by presenting a shirt to the son of their former player at a youth tournament in Spain.

Reyes and his cousin Jonathan died in a traffic accident on June 1.

The former Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Sevilla star's son, who shares the same name, is a highly regarded prospect and will reportedly join Real Madrid's academy from Leganes next season.

The Leganes youngster was gifted a Sevilla shirt in memory of his father at the LaLiga Promises youth tournament on Sunday.

Described as a "legend" by club president Jose Castro, Reyes had two spells with his hometown team and represented Spain at the World Cup in 2006.

Paul Pogba finally confirmed his desire to leave Manchester United for a "new challenge" on Sunday, a revelation that will likely split the club's supporters.

While few would doubt Pogba's ability, the last three seasons since his return from Juventus have been anything but smooth.

Pogba has struggled for consistency in a United team that has so often been crying out for his creativity, while the soap opera around his turbulent relationship with Jose Mourinho before the Portuguese manager's December sacking became a distracting sideshow.

Although Pogba's form did initially improve after Mourinho left, the dominant performances soon dried up again – a haul of 13 goals (seven from the spot) and nine assists in the Premier League exaggerating his influence.

Sunday's comments about desiring a move will not have surprised many given the speculation surrounding him, but offloading Pogba might prove a blessing in disguise for a United side in need of a rebuild. We have identified some potential replacements.

 

Sean Longstaff - Newcastle United

Magpies midfielder Longstaff has only made nine Premier League appearances, but he impressed to such a degree he is being linked with a £25million move to United. Poised in possession with a maturity that belies his 21 years, Longstaff looks to have a very bright future but it would be asking a lot of him to replace one of the best midfielders in the world.

Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon

Ndombele is reportedly a target for Tottenham, who he has described as "a great team, a great club", though he could be a good fit at Old Trafford too. The France midfielder impressed in the Champions League last term but Lyon's outspoken president Jean-Michel Aulas is known among the hardest negotiators in the game. The Ligue 1 side are said to be demanding £70m for the 22-year-old.

Bruno Fernandes - Sporting CP

Nations League winner Fernandes is expected to leave Sporting this year, but United would surely face a battle for his signature, as Manchester City, Inter, Tottenham, Liverpool and Juventus are all said to be keen. Fernandes hit 20 league goals for Sporting, who missed out on Champions League qualification and will likely have to cash in on the versatile 24-year-old as a result. He is reportedly valued at £70m. 

Youri Tielemans - Monaco

Tielemans impressed on loan at Leicester City last term and, although the Foxes may wish to do a deal with Monaco to sign him permanently, they could be blown out of the water by offers from richer sides. Tielemans, said to be valued at £40m by the Ligue 1 club, has been linked with United, but speculation has also suggested they have moved on to other targets.

Adrien Rabiot - PSG

A risk-reward signing if ever there was one, Rabiot is available on a free transfer as his contract is expiring this year at Paris Saint-Germain. But the 24-year-old has a reputation as a difficult character, having been shunted aside at PSG over a contract dispute, while he rejected the invitation to be on the standby list for Didier Deschamps' France squad at the 2018 World Cup. The undoubtedly talented Rabiot is said to be in huge demand, with Juventus rumoured to be interested in a player Gianluigi Buffon has described as a combination of Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis 

Versatility makes Giovani Lo Celso an appealing option, with the Argentina midfielder able to operate in front of defence or in a more attacking role. He scored nine LaLiga goals for Real Betis last season and the club can expect to make a significant profit on a player they signed from PSG for €25m only two months ago. Should Lo Celso impress at the Copa America, demand in a player linked with Tottenham could increase.

For the first time, Costa Rica will play a match on home soil in the Concacaf Gold Cup, as it meets Nicaragua at Estadio Nacional on Sunday June 16 to open Group B play. 

Although the teams have never met in the Gold Cup, Costa Rica leads the all-time series that dates back to 1941, with a 16W-1D-1L record.

Costa Rica, who is seeking its first Gold Cup title, has plenty of firepower in its attack and boasts five players who scored in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying for Russia 2018: Marco Urena, Joel Campbell, Christian Bolanos, Johan Venegas and Kendall Waston. Those five combined for a total of 14 goals in 10 matches. 

Costa Rica will certainly be aware of the expectations after finishing second in the Hexagonal stage of World Cup 2018 qualifying and reaching the Gold Cup quarterfinals 10 consecutive times.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua, who will be making its third Gold Cup appearance and its second in a row, will be led by veteran winger and captain Juan Barrera, who has 18 goals in 50 caps.

As it looks to have a better run in the 2019 Gold Cup, Nicaragua’s defensive end has more experience with Manuel Rosas on its side. The defender is key to the Pinolero defense, registering the most effective passes (161) in Concacaf National League Qualifying. 

Nicaragua will be leaning on its past experiences against Costa Rica. 

Haiti and Concacaf Gold Cup debutant Bermuda will kick off the very first Gold Cup match ever played in Costa Rica.

The opening match of the Group B doubleheader will take place at Estadio Nacional in San Jose on Sunday night and will star a lot of young talent.

Both Haiti and Bermuda have the youngest rosters of the 2019 Gold Cup with an approximate age group of 24 years and five months. For Haiti, who will be participating in its seventh Gold Cup match, its attack has experienced FW Duckens Nazon, who is one of the top goal scorers in the 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifier with six goals in just two games.

Nazon, who is expected to play its fifth Gold Cup, is the only player on Haiti’s roster to score goals in a Gold Cup, however Derrick Etienne Jr. will also be one to watch in the Haiti attack.

Meanwhile, Bermuda can rely on a strong DF Willie Clemons, who will be key for the debutants.

Clemons led Bermuda in ball recoveries in 2018-19 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, with five. Even though Bermuda will be making its first appearance of the tournament against Haiti, it is known for its fighting spirit until the very last minute. The Bermudians enjoyed an impressive CNLQ campaign as they ended with a record of 3W-0D-1L, including a 12-0 victory over Sint Maarten.

Now, the stage is set for the first all-time meeting between Haiti and Bermuda in the Gold Cup.

Carli Lloyd set multiple Women's World Cup scoring records as she fired the United States into a commanding position against Chile on Sunday.

The highly decorated 36-year-old lashed in an 11th-minute opener in Paris to become the first player to score in six consecutive Women's World Cup appearances.

Lloyd's goal continued a stunning sequence that began in a victory over Colombia in the last 16 in Canada four years ago.

And the veteran was not done there, adding another before the break as she nodded in Tierna Davidson's corner for her ninth goal across that prolific six-game period.

The well-judged header completed a first-half brace and made her the oldest woman to score more than once in a single World Cup match.

James Rodriguez remains in the dark about his Real Madrid future amid links with an array of European clubs.

The 27-year-old spent the past two seasons on loan with Bayern Munich but has informed the Bundesliga champions he is not interested in a permanent transfer.

James, who is on Copa America duty with Colombia, has now been tipped to find a new club ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Juventus and Napoli are rumoured to be in the running to sign him, while Premier League duo Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked, but the playmaker is unsure where he will end up.

"I really don't know anything yet," James told Marca following Colombia's 2-0 win over Argentina on Saturday.

James played the full 90 minutes of Colombia's Group B opener in Salvador and set up Roger Martinez's strike, which Duvan Zapata added to late on.

But the former Monaco ace has warned his team-mates not to get carried away in their pursuit of a first Copa America triumph since 2001.

"We played well," he said. "We were very solid. It was a very physical game and it's a good day for all Colombians. When we're united it's much easier for everyone.

"We have to be calm and cautious. There's a lot of football left and we have to be careful in our next games. We can't go into a state of euphoria."

Chile start their bid for a third successive Copa America title in Sao Paulo on Monday, as they go up against Japan in their Group C opener.

La Roja defeated Argentina on penalties in both the 2015 and 2016 finals, though much has changed since then. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi departed after the team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Reinaldo Rueda appointed as his replacement.

The Colombian has won just five of his 13 games since taking charge in January 2018, though he has a squad containing a plethora of famous faces for the tournament in Brazil.

Arturo Vidal is one of the senior players included and the Barcelona midfielder believes Chile can come good at just the right time to defend their crown, which would see them join Argentina as the only nations to win three in a row.

"This squad should be feared, from the beginning to the final," Vidal told the media. "We hope it's going to be something amazing, but we're going to take it game by game.

"Everything is starting from new; a new process, new players, new coaches. It took us many days to talk about and clear up things."

Japan, meanwhile, are guests of CONMEBOL for a second time, having previously played at the 1999 tournament in Paraguay.

Coach Hajime Moriyasu has an impressive record at the helm, winning 12 of his 16 games, but will have to try to qualify for the knockout stages with a young squad that was picked with the 2020 Olympic Games in mind.

Teenager Takefusa Kubo, who completed a move to Real Madrid on Friday, is one to look out for, while goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and captain Shinji Okazaki provide some much-needed experience.

"I'm really looking forward to playing in the Copa America, it's one of the highest-level tournaments in the world," Moriyasu told reporters.

"How can we show our strength and which way we play, that's what we want to find out in this tournament."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Japan – Shinji Okazaki 

The forward was a hero in Leicester City's famous Premier League title triumph in 2015-16, so can he help his country spring a huge surprise in Brazil? Japan will lean heavily on their skipper to lead from the front.

Chile – Arturo Vidal

Chile have yet to hit top gear under Rueda, who will hope Vidal can drive the team forward from midfield. The 32-year-old is one of six players in the squad who has reached a century of international caps.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Japan and Chile have met twice previously, both friendlies played in Tokyo - a 0-0 draw in 2008 followed by a 4-0 win for Japan in 2009. Chile have lost only one of their seven meetings with Asian teams on neutral soil (W4 D2).
- Japan have won only one of their 13 competitive games against South American countries (D4 L8), the solitary success coming against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup (2-1). 
- Eduardo Vargas is the joint-top scorer for Chile in Copa America tournaments, alongside Enrique Hormazabal (10 goals).
- This will be Rueda's third Copa America tournament. He reached the semi-finals in 2004 with Colombia (W3 D1 L2) and was eliminated from the group stage in 2011 with Ecuador (D1 L2).
- Chile's last two Copa America tournaments have been under different bosses (Jorge Sampaoli in 2015 and Juan Antonio Pizzi in 2016).

Gianluigi Buffon could spend a year out of football after turning down Paris Saint-Germain's lucrative offer of a second season because he did not want to watch from the bench.

Italy legend Buffon parted ways with the Ligue 1 champions following the end of his maiden campaign in France.

The 41-year-old agreed with the club not to pursue the option of a further 12 months despite having the opportunity to take up an extension at Parc des Princes.

Buffon, who spent 17 years at Serie A giants Juventus, has since been linked with a return to former club Parma, while Primeira Liga side Porto are reportedly considering him as a potential replacement for Iker Casillas.

But the World Cup winner's interest in pursuing coaching or a possible director of football role means he is in no rush to decide on the next move.

"PSG told me five months ago that I would be the second goalkeeper next season," Buffon told Corriere dello Sport. 

"I had plenty of time to think about it and I came to the conclusion that this was not for me, so I gave up a lot of money and a one-year option.

"Their request was absolutely legitimate, understandable and was an attractive offer. 

"However, at the age of 41, I have this almost physiological need to feel sensations. Emotions translate into energy, dreams, the feeling of being part of something.

"Today I find myself in a situation like last summer, in an extraordinary state of serenity, in a state of total relaxation where everything is open and it could all end in twelve months or in fifteen days. 

"Some good proposals have arrived, but if I don't have the right motivation I can decide to take a year all for myself, all mine. One year of education."

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