vs. Location: Estádio Cícero Pompeu de Toledo (Estádio do Morumbi), São Paulo Brazil roster: Goleiros Alisson (Roma-ITA) Cássio (Corinthians) Ederson (Manchester City-ING) Laterais Daniel Alves (PSG-FRA) Filipe Luís (Atlético de Madri-ESP) Alex Sandro (Juventus-ITA) Fágner (Corinthians) Zagueiros Miranda (Inter de Milão-ITA) Marquinhos (PSG-FRA) Thiago Silva (PSG-FRA) Éder Militão (Porto-POR) Meio-campistas Arthur (Grêmio) Allan (Napoli-ITA) Lucas Paquetá (Milan-ITA) Casemiro (Real Madrid-ESP) Fernandinho (Manchester City-ING) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool-ING) Willian (Chelsea-ING) Atacantes Richarlison (PSG-FRA) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool-ING) Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City-ING) David Neres (Ajax-HOL) Everton (Grêmio) Brazil returns to official competitions almost 1 year to the day of its debut in the 2018 World Cup, but while last year, the Seleção visited Russian lands in its quest for a championship, this time the squad plays on home ground, as it did in 2013 and in 2014. If on June 17, 2018 the opponent was European (Switzerland), this time it is an old local opponent, and one against whom Brazil boasts overwhelmingly favorable numbers: Bolivia. In what will be Brazil’s 11th match in Tite’s post-World Cup stint, Brazil will attempt to keep its current 11-match unbeaten streak alive, and to achieve a four-game win streak. After a 2-0 win against Qatar and a 7-0 win against Honduras (but which saw Neymar injured and ultimately cut from the roster and replaced by Willian as well as Arthur replaced by Allan during the Honduras match, but with Arthur reportedly expected to recover), Brazil enters the Copa América confident and hungry for a win. Observers, ranging from everyday fans to professional writers, see Brazil’s fortunes in this tournament as pivotal to Tite’s future as Brazil manager. The defeat vs. Belgium in 2018 cost him considerable political capital and Tite was criticized for questionable roster selections last summer. While CBF re-signed him, Tite is well aware that now, even 11 straight matches without losing (with 25 goals scored and 2 allowed) will mean little if Brazil suffers an embarrassment on home ground. The backdrop of the 2013 Confederations Cup title victory stands next to the disappointment of the 2014 World Cup, and statistics for Copa América host teams have been anything but encouraging, for the most part, since 1989 (the very last time Brazil hosted the tournament and won it). Starting with 1989, only three times did the host team lift the trophy: Uruguay in 1995, Colombia in 2001 and Chile in 2015, and of these, only Colombia did not need penalty kicks to seal the win. Brazil, however, does have another interesting historical statistic that might favor it: on the four previous occasions it hosted the tournament (1919, 1922, 1949, and 1989), Brazil emerged as champion. A “Penta” would certainly look logical if statistics alone mattered. Bolivia does not come to Brazil as a contender. It failed to reach the 2018 World Cup (the sixth straight World Cup it didn’t qualify for) and its post-2018 World Cup qualification record has been unimpressive. In March 2018, it played Curaçao twice in four days (Curaçao is a Lesser Antilles island about 40 miles north of the Venezuelan coast and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands), and Bolivia drew 1-1 and lost 1-0. Its best results since were a goalless draw against South Korea and a 0-3 win against Myanmar. Since March 2019, Bolivia drew Nicaragua 2-2, lost against South Korea and Japan 1-0 each time, and lost to France 0-2 in Nantes last week. The standout from Bolivia is Marcelo Moreno, a skilled striker who has played in Vitória, Cruzeiro (twice), Grêmio, and Flamengo. Moreno was the lone centerforward in a 4-4-1-1 formation which failed to score against the current World Cup champions at Stade de la Beaujoire. Even with Neymar out of the tournament, Brazil stormed Honduras yesterday, and five different offensive midfielders/forwards found the net. Neymar’s talent cannot be replaced, but it can be compensated for, given the excellent talent Brazilian forwards boast, and given the team chemistry they have developed as they have been played together for quite some time under Tite. Every opponent must be respected, but it is difficult to expect anything but a victory for Brazil. The following was Bolivia’s starting XI vs. France: Lampe; M. Bejarano, Jusino, Haquin, D. Bejarano; Saavedra, Galindo, Justiniano, Chumacero; Castro; Moreno. Brazil’s Copa América record vs. Bolivia is extremely lopsided: 39 goals scored, 11 allowed (with 7 of them in matches in Bolivia); 8 wins for Brazil, 2 wins for Bolivia, no draws. 1/28/1945 Brazil 2, Bolivia 0 1/16/1946 Brazil 3, Bolivia 0 4/10/1949 Brazil 10, Bolivia 1 3/1/1953 Brazil 8, Bolivia 1 3/21/1959 Brazil 4, Bolivia 2 3/31/1963 Bolivia 5, Brazil 4 7/26/1979 Bolivia 2, Brazil 1 8/16/1979 Brazil 2, Bolivia 0 7/9/1991 Brazil 2, Bolivia 1 6/29/1997 Bolivia 1, Brazil 3 Of note is the 1997 match. Brazil beat Bolivia in Bolivia for the first time since 1985, and in La Paz. Having spent the entire tournament in Bolivia, Brazil’s players acclimated to the altitude enough to play normally. In 1985, Brazil won 2-0 in Ramón Tahuichi Aguilera stadium in Santa Cruz de la Sierra; this city’s altitude is 416 meters, and it was also here where Brazil last beat Bolivia in Bolivia: a 4-0 friendly win in 2013. At the end of the final, Brazil's manager Zagallo went up to a camera and screamed "vocês vão ter que me engolir!" in the biggest live TV desabafo in Brazilian sports history up to that moment. Zagallo had been under heavy criticism for his management of the team; the 1997 title helped him, but it all went down the drain 1 year later in Paris.