Endrick is confident he can help Brazil claim a 10th Copa America title as he prepares for his first international tournament with the Selecao Canarinho. 

Brazil kickstart their campaign at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday against Costa Rica. 

Dorival Junior's side will also face Paraguay and Colombia in Group E, hopeful of going one better this time around having lost to Argentina in the 2021 final. 

The 17-year-old, who officially joins Real Madrid next month, has scored three goals in his last four games for Brazil but knows he will have to remain patient for his opportunity at the Copa America. 

"Only God knows [when I will start]," Endrick said. I am very grateful to have Abel [Ferreira] as a coach, he knew when to play me.

"Everything is up to God and Dorival Junior, the professor. He is a spectacular coach. He is doing what is best for the Brazilian team.

"I have always been very precocious in my life and since I became a professional I have played against opponents who have always teased me, insulted me, talked about my family, my girlfriend.

"But I got used to it quickly because I was 16. I'm calm, and I hope I can help. I think it's right, in football you have to destabilise the other player.

"It's been like that since I arrived, so I've adapted, and I'm very confident that I can help the team."

For Costa Rica Gustavo Alfaro, he has experience at the Copa America having guided Ecuador to the quarter-finals of the previous tournament in 2021.

The 61-year-old also took them to the following year's World Cup, where they opened with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, but failed to reach the knockouts after losing 2-1 to Senegal in their final group game.

However, Alfaro faces a different proposition with Los Ticos. Costa Rica have failed to make it beyond the group stages in each of the last two appearances; they last did so in 2004, but their recent form holds reason for optimism. 

Costa Rica have won four of their previous six international fixtures, losing only once over that stretch (3-1 to Argentina). They have also not conceded in any of their last three competitive fixtures, winning 15 of their previous 16 encounters when scoring the opening goal.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brazil - Vinicius Junior 

Vinicius Junior played a starring role in Real Madrid's LaLiga and Champions League successes in 2023-24, and claiming a first international honour with his nation would surely put the 23-year-old in pole position to scoop the Ballon d'Or. 

The Los Blancos star had 35 goal involvements (24 goals and 11 assists) in 39 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish side, his second-best campaign since his move to Madrid in 2021-22 (22 goals and 20 assists). 

 

Costa Rica - Manfred Ugalde

Having failed to score for his new side, Spartak Moscow, after his move from FC Twente in January, Ugalde rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at the opportune moment heading into the tournament. 

The 22-year-old striker grabbed a goal and three assists in Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and will be hoping to continue that form in Inglewood against Brazil. 

MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

Brazil and Costa Rica have faced each other twice in the Copa America, with both victories for the Brazilian team in 1997 (5-0) at the Estadio Ramon Tahuichi Aguilera and in 2004 (4-1) with Adriano scoring a hat-trick for Carlos Alberto Parreira's side. 

The Selecao Canarinho have won 10 of their 11 meetings against their opponents, with their last defeat coming in the Panamerican Championship in March 1960 (3-0), with Brazil backed to continue their nine-game unbeaten run. 

Costa Rica will look to continue their impressive record against CONMEBOL teams at the Copa America, having lost one of their last four matches against them (W2 D1).

Gustavo Alfaro's side will seek to string together victories for the first time against CONMEBOL opponents in the competition, having defeated Colombia 3-2 in the 2016 edition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Brazil - 71%

Costa Rica - 16.1%

Draw - 12.9%

It took 28 years, but Argentina finally ended a long wait for a major international trophy when they triumphed at the 2021 Copa America.

Lionel Messi starred throughout that tournament in Brazil, which was played partly behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scoring four goals and laying on five more, though it was Angel Di Maria who proved Argentina's hero in the final, scoring the winner against the Selecao.

That triumph marked Messi's first piece of silverware on the international stage, while Argentina won a trophy for the first time since 1993.

It paved the way for Argentina to go from continental champions to world champions less than 18 months later, as Messi inspired them to glory in Qatar.

And now the world champions will look to cement this era of dominance by retaining the Copa America crown.

With the help of Opta data, we preview the key storylines ahead of the Copa America.

THE HOSTS

USA

This year's Copa will be held in the United States, which was also the host nation for the 2016 edition, which was won by Chile.

Like in 2016, 16 teams will feature at the tournament this year, with the USA one of six CONCACAF nations involved.

Gregg Berhalter left his role after the 2022 World Cup, but was then reappointed. While he has a talented group at his disposal, it does feel as though he cannot quite get the required level of consistency out of them.

The two sides of the USA were on show in their warm-up matches: A 5-1 hammering at the hands of Colombia was followed by a 1-1 draw with heavyweights Brazil.

In Christian Pulisic, the USA have an influential playmaker who comes into the tournament on the back of his best goalscoring season, having netted 15 times in all competitions for Milan.

Folarin Balogun has netted three times for the Stars and Stripes since switching allegiance from England, while Antonee Robinson, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah have plenty of top-level experience. But Berhalter has to find a way to put it all together.

THE FAVOURITES

Argentina

It is easy to see why La Albiceleste are the big favourites. They are the best team in the world, according to the FIFA rankings, and in Messi, they still have a player who is arguably the best in the world, even heading into his late thirties.

Messi has already been involved in 21 MLS goals for Inter Miami this season, and everything is set to revolve around him once again for Argentina.

 

As soon as he features for Argentina at this tournament, Messi will become the Copa America’s all-time record holder for appearances – he is tied with Chile great Sergio Livingstone on 34, as it stands.

Messi has scored 13 Copa America goals, which puts him joint-seventh on the all-time list, alongside fellow Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta. If he is able to replicate his four goals from the 2021 edition, then Messi could join Norberto Mendez and Zizinho at the top of the all-time charts – that is unless Peru's Paolo Guerrero and/or Chile's Eduardo Vargas were to net at least four times each to set a new record.

Since the start of the 2011 Copa, Messi has had 102 shots – more than any other player. Surprisingly, his conversion rate stands at just 10.78 per cent, which is the second-lowest out of any player to have netted at least five goals in the competition in that time.

With 15 titles to their name, Argentina are the joint-record winners of the Copa America, alongside Uruguay. They have played more Copa matches (201) and scored more goals in the tournament (474) than any other team, too.

They are clearly the team to beat.

Brazil

This Brazil is not exactly the vintage of the 1990s or 2000s. With no Neymar, there's less flair, and more streetfighter grit, in Dorival Junior's squad.

Vinicius Junior does provide a flavour of the archetypal Brazilian international, though, and he is set to be the Selecao's talisman at this Copa.

He comes into the tournament on the back of an exceptional season with Real Madrid, having scored 24 goals across all competitions.

Vinicius outperformed his 20.96 xG, while also providing nine assists and creating 56 chances for his team-mates.

The forward spent much of the domestic campaign playing down the middle for Carlo Ancelotti's team, whereas for his country, he is likely to play wide left.

Who occupies that centre-forward spot is perhaps up for debate. Endrick is a superstar in the making, though will Brazil's coach trust the youngster to lead the line from the off?

Gabriel Martinelli is better on the flanks, though could do a job if required. However, with no Richarlison or Gabriel Jesus, that striker position does seem a possible weakness.

There's no Casemiro, following his poor performances for Manchester United, but Douglas Luiz, Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta form a steely midfield trio with genuine quality.

With Ederson injured, Alisson is the clear number one, with Eder Militao and Marquinhos seemingly set to pair up at the back, with Gabriel Magalhaes and Bremer quality options in reserve, too.

They face Colombia, Paraguay and Costa Rica in their group, and despite their struggles in World Cup qualifying, they are still the favourites to top that pool.

Uruguay

Now under the guidance of the enigmatic Marcelo Bielsa, Uruguay are being tipped by many to emerge as serious challengers in the United States. 

A hat-trick from Liverpool's Darwin Nunez helped them thrash Mexico 4-0 in a pre-tournament friendly last week, while they also sit second in the CONMEBOL 2026 World Cup qualification standings, having beaten Brazil and Argentina last year.

That latter victory makes them the only team to defeat La Albiceleste since they won the World Cup in Qatar. Messi and company have won the other 13 of their 14 matches as world champions.

Nunez, who ranked joint-fifth in the Premier League for total shots (108) and eighth for xG (16.39) in 2023-24, is an ideal fit for the all-action attacking approach favoured by Bielsa, while tireless midfielder Federico Valverde brings balance alongside enforcer Manuel Ugarte and the cultured Rodrigo Bentancur.

Luis Suarez, meanwhile, has received a surprise call-up despite not featuring in Uruguay's pre-tournament friendlies, having scored 12 goals and assisted five in 16 MLS appearances for Inter Miami this term.

Neutrals should expect entertainment from a side that leads all teams in South American World Cup qualifying for xG (9.05), but as is so often the case with Bielsa's teams, there are questions at the other end. 

Ecuador (4.52) and Venezuela (4.78) are among those to have allowed opponents a lower xG total in the CONMEBOL qualifiers than Uruguay (4.97 xGA), and goalkeeper Sergio Rochet can expect to be worked after usurping Fernando Muslera, who helped La Celeste finish fourth at the 2010 World Cup and win the Copa America one year later.

Panama and Bolivia look unlikely to offer much of a challenge in Group C, making Uruguay's final match against the United States vital. Should they top their pool, they will land on the opposite side of the bracket to the Group A victors, widely expected to be Argentina. 

Uruguay held the record for most Copa America victories outright between 2011 (their 15th title) and 2021 (Argentina's 15th). If we see Bielsa-ball in full flow, they could be contenders to reclaim their status as South America's top dogs.

Colombia

Colombia are the form team heading into the Copa America.

They are unbeaten in 23 games, winning the last eight of those, including hammerings of the USA and Bolivia in pre-tournament friendlies.

Luis Diaz scored one and set up another in that latter match - a 3-0 win - and he was the breakout star of the 2021 Copa America, scoring four goals to finish level with Messi at the top of the charts.

Those four goals came from a combined xG of just 1.0, with Diaz netting an overhead kick against Brazil in the group stage, and lashing in a supreme strike from outside the area as Colombia beat Peru in the third-placed play-off.

Diaz is Colombia's most potent goalscoring threat, but they also have James Rodriguez to rely on further back.

James' club career has become a nomadic one, but for his country, the former Madrid playmaker is a superstar once again under coach Nestor Lorenzo, who has made the 32-year-old the main man.

Having been left out of Colombia's squad for the 2021 edition, James will be eager to make up for lost time.

Colombia are more than just dark horses. They should be considered among the very best teams at this tournament.

THE BREAKOUT STARS

Endrick is the obvious pick here. The teenager looks set for stardom, and he'll be linking up with Vinicius, Jude Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid next season. He has scored three goals in his last four outings for Brazil, including a late winner against Mexico earlier in June.

Alejandro Garnacho is now an established Premier League player, but he is only just finding his way for Argentina. He is yet to score for his country, but has stepped up in big moments for Manchester United this season, none more so than in the FA Cup final, in which he scored the opening goal in a 2-1 win over Manchester City.

Colombia forward Jhon Duran  is reportedly of interest to Chelsea, and the Aston Villa attacker could be something of a wildcard for Lorenzo off the bench. His five Premier League goals in 2023-24 came from just 2.0 xG.

THE OPTA SUPERCOMPUTER SAYS...

As mentioned, Argentina are the clear favourites, with Opta's model handing them a 31 per cent chance of winning their 16th Copa crown.

Brazil, as would be expected, rank second - their win likelihood is 23 per cent .

Uruguay come in with a 13 per cent chance, ahead of the USA ( seven per cent ), Colombia ( six per cent ) and Mexico ( six per cent ).

Two teams - Jamaica and Bolivia, who are the worst-ranked side in this year's edition of the tournament - are given a zero per cent chance of winning the trophy.

Panama, who reached the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last year, can perhaps consider themselves hard done by to be given just a one per cent chance, however.

Endrick believes "no-one deserves the Ballon d'Or more" than future Real Madrid team-mate Vinicius Junior, as his compatriot gears up for Saturday's Champions League final.

Vinicius, who scored the winning goal against Liverpool in the 2022 showpiece, is eyeing his second European triumph with Los Blancos, who take on Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

The 23-year-old has had the most direct goal involvements in the Champions League since the start of the 2021-22 season (31 - 16 goals, 15 assists), while his tally of 17 in the knockout stages is also the most during that span.

Vinicius and Endrick will soon become team-mates at club level, with the teenage sensation set to join Madrid from Palmeiras on his 18th birthday in July.

Before that, the pair will be focused on leading Brazil's charge at the Copa America, where Endrick believes Selecao success will only aid Vinicius' chances of landing football's most coveted individual accolade.

"Vini is a reference. A star," the 17-year-old said. "No one deserves the Ballon D'Or more than him this year. I think our group at the Copa America will be looking not only at winning the title, but also helping him to win this award."

Endrick was speaking ahead of his final game for Palmeiras, whose supporters' reception moved him to tears during the Copa Libertadores clash with San Lorenzo.

Brazil's youngest international since Pele in 1957 - and their youngest scorer following his strike against England in March - the forward will watch Madrid for the final time "as a fan" on Saturday.

And he has been keeping close tabs on his new team-mates, while absorbing as much information as possible before linking up with them after the Copa America.

"Real have to win on Saturday. I have been so focused on my farewell game [with Palmeiras] that I didn't even realise it [was Madrid's last game without me]," he added.

"I watch a lot of games, but not always live, because it's not possible due to our schedule. I end up studying the team more than cheering. I often already know the result when I'm watching.

"Watching a game is different for us players who train and travel all the time. We look at other things; pay more attention to some elements than others. That's why I like to watch without any fuss."

Brazil coach Dorival Junior announced his 23-man squad for the upcoming Copa America, with Casemiro one of the big names missing out on a place.

The Manchester United midfielder, who has 75 caps for Brazil, has struggled in a difficult season and was omitted from the squad along with Tottenham forward Richarlison, Selecao’s top-scorer at the 2022 World Cup.

17-year-old Endrick, who is due to join Real Madrid in July, is in the squad after scoring two goals in four appearances since his debut for Brazil last year.

He became the youngest male player to score an international goal at Wembley when he netted the winner against England in March.

While announcing the squad, Dorival Junior explained the reason for Casemiro’s exclusion.

He said: "He deserves every respect from us all. I had a chat with him in Manchester about three months ago. I explained what I thought about his moment, his team, and what I needed.

"It doesn't mean that because he's not coming this time, that he is or will be ruled out, in the future in any sense.

"He knows very well what I think about him, and that's the main thing. Tomorrow, I'll make contact with Casemiro calmly, naturally putting forward what I believe could happen in the future, not least because he's a player who deserves consideration, affection, respect and that we continue to believe in a player of this calibre." 

Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus, United winger Antony and Matheus Cunha, who plays for Wolves, are other notable absentees.

Top-scorer Neymar is also not included as he continues his recovery from a knee ligament injury he sustained playing for Brazil last October.

Asked how Brazil would cope without their star striker, Dorival Junior was quick to praise Endrick but insisted that he did not want to put pressure on any one player.

"Endrick played a starring role in a great achievement for his club a few months ago, he played very well in the national team's friendlies, he's maintained his level, and he can still improve a lot. I hope that happens with him here. That he feels more and more comfortable," said Dorival Junior.

"In general, I think we need multiple protagonists and not just a single protagonist. I believe that the division of responsibilities will make our team grow and improve even more.

"It's important to have players of this calibre together. In the near future, God willing, we'll also have the presence of Neymar.

"But until then, we have to make sure, within the squad itself, that everyone's responsibilities are recognised and, above all, that everyone is integrated and doing their best so that the division of responsibilities reduces this obligation to always have a single protagonist at the national team."

The Copa America will take place in the United States from June 20 to July 14, with Brazil starting against Costa Rica at the SoFi Stadium on June 24.

Brazil squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Bento (Atletico PR), Ederson (Manchester City)

Defenders: Beraldo (PSG), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel (Arsenal), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Yan Couto (Girona), Guilherme Arana (Atletico MG), Wendell (Porto)

Midfielders: Andreas Pereira (Fulham), Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Joao Gomes (Wolves), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham)

Forwards: Endrick (Palmeiras), Evanilson (Porto), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Savinho (Girona), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

Lucas Paqueta scored a last-gasp penalty as Brazil twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Spain in a thrilling friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Paqueta converted with one of the last kicks of the game, less than 10 minutes after Rodri thought he had grabbed the winner for Spain in their first meeting with Brazil for 11 years.

Rodri had opened the scoring from the spot before Dani Olmo's strike doubled Spain's advantage.

Rodrygo issued an immediate response to halve the deficit and Brazil wonderboy Endrick scored for the second game running to level the score, paving the way for the late drama.

Having missed an early opportunity when he failed to test Brazil goalkeeper Bento, Lamine Yamal was at the heart of Spain's opener when, in the 11th minute, he was brought down by Joao Gomez in the box, with referee Antonio Nobre pointing to the spot – Rodri calmly slotting the resulting penalty down the middle.

Brazil went close at the other end when Real Madrid stars Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior combined, with the latter firing straight at Unai Simon, but Spain made it 2-0 when Olmo lashed in following superb skill to bamboozle two defenders.

Brazil responded quickly, though, punishing an error from Simon when Spain’s goalkeeper gifted the ball straight to Rodrygo, who finished coolly.

The half-time break and the four changes made by head coach Dorival Junior had the desired impact for Brazil, as Endrick – fresh from his historic winner against England – volleyed home an equaliser following a corner.

Olmo was denied a second when Bento pulled off an excellent save, but Spain did eventually get their chance to win it when Dani Carvajal was bundled over by Beraldo.

Once again, Rodri was on target, but in the dying embers, Carvajal’s clumsy tackle on Galeno handed Paqueta the chance to grab a draw, with the West Ham midfielder making no mistake.

Endrick shows the Bernabeu what he can do

After becoming Brazil’s youngest scorer since Ronaldo when he grabbed the winner at Wembley on Saturday, Endrick – who will be joining Madrid ahead of next season – will hope his goal this time out is the first of many at his soon-to-be stomping ground.

The 17-year-old levelled the scores five minutes into the second half with just his fourth shot for Brazil.

Head coach Dorival Junior will be disappointed that Brazil could not build on Saturday's 1-0 win against England with another victory but will see the positives as his side prepare to try and win a 10th Copa America title this summer.

The draw also keeps up Brazil’s excellent record against European nations in friendlies having not lost such a match since August 2013 against Switzerland.

Spain slip up... again

Spain failed to score in Friday's surprise friendly defeat to Colombia despite having 13 shots, but they had no such problem this time in a dominant first-half display.

Barcelona prodigy Yamal impressed, winning the penalty and being involved in much of Spain's positive play, while Olmo showed his individual quality too.

But from a position of comfort, Simon's mistake gifted Brazil a route back into the contest, head coach Luis de la Fuente will only have been further frustrated by Carvajal's clumsiness right at the end, as their search for a first win of 2024 rumbles on.

Gareth Southgate was pleased by England’s display in the defeat to Brazil and praised his trio of debutants as he experimented ahead of Euro 2024.

Saturday’s Wembley clash between these injury-hit sides ended in the hosts’ first defeat since their World Cup quarter-final exit to France 15 months ago.

England had hoped to start the international year with a bang but stumbled as teenage star Endrick came off the bench to secure Brazil a late 1-0 win.

The 17-year-old became the youngest man to score a senior international goal at Wembley, where Southgate was largely happy despite his side’s 10-match unbeaten run coming to an end.

“I was pleased,” the England manager said. “Clearly don’t like losing football matches, but I thought there were lots of very good individual performances from players who’ve hardly played for England.

“I thought our more regular players were very good.

“You know, with 15 minutes to go we’re thinking ‘we’ve managed to see a lot of new players, we’ve had more than our share of the game, we’ve had as many attempts on goal as they have’.

“The difference in the end was one moment, really, and that is the ruthlessness of football at this level.”

Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon made a promising first start and Ezri Konsa came on in the 20th minute following an injury to stand-in skipper Kyle Walker.

The Aston Villa defender filled in at right-back and Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo, 18, came off the bench 15 minutes from time.

“I thought Anthony was very good,” the England boss said. “Both sides of his game looked very accomplished.

“Ezri, to come in at the moment he did and to deal with a player of that quality (Vinicius Jr), I thought he was also excellent, showed real composure and he should be really happy with his debut. We were really pleased with him.

“Kobbie was a chance to dip his toes. We needed to refresh some of the team because we’ve got to manage their minutes a little bit, so that’s a strange situation when it’s a game of that size but that’s where we are.

“To get Kobbie on the pitch was a brilliant moment for him and his family. You saw a couple of turns and a couple of really composed moments that is a bit of an indication of what he might become.”

Southgate was waiting to find out the severity of the issue that forced Walker off in the first half, saying the right-back was unsure “whether it’s just tightness”.

But the England boss suspects “it’s a little bit more than that”, meaning he would miss Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium.

Southgate expects to have Cole Palmer and Jordan Henderson available for that game but confirmed captain Harry Kane will not feature due to an ankle injury.

“Yeah, he’ll go back,” he said. “He won’t he won’t be fit for Tuesday.

“(Henderson and Palmer) trained today so they’ve come through that OK.

“They should join the group that will train tomorrow and we’ll go from there with that.”

With Kane out and Ollie Watkins having the chance to lead the line against Brazil, the Belgium friendly surely provides a chance to start Ivan Toney.

The one-cap striker was an unused substitute on a rare night when England failed to find the net.

“We are playing a top team so chances are going to be limited,” Southgate said.

“Perhaps we had the chances from set-plays to capitalise on one of them that often makes the difference in those tight games.

“But I was really pleased with the players that went in. We need to find out about them, we need to know where we might head if we didn’t have Harry for a big match.

“I thought Ollie did a good job, didn’t get that clear chance on goal that you might want as a forward but a lot of his work was very, very good.”

England suffered their first defeat since the World Cup as teenage star Endrick came off the bench to seal Brazil a late victory against Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 hopefuls.

After a build-up dominated by the brouhaha over an altered St George’s flag on the back of the new shirt and talk about the manager’s future, Saturday’s glamour friendly between these injury-hit sides failed to live up to the hype.

Southgate’s side survived a few scares on a night that was heading towards a goalless conclusion until 17-year-old Endrick’s first senior international goal secured a 1-0 win at a sold-out Wembley.

This was England’s first defeat since their World Cup quarter-final exit to France 15 months ago, with the meek end to their 10-match unbeaten run leading to early exits and some grumbles at the final whistle.

Brazil had been on a run of three straight losses but, under new boss Dorival Junior, had the best chances of a stop-start opening period that saw Lucas Paqueta hit the post and somehow escape a second yellow card.

Vinicius Jr and Raphinha also had chances for the Selecao, with the former’s late shot leading to teenager Endrick’s matchwinner as England made a poor start to a year they hope will go down in history.

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