Brazil and Paraguay draw opening Copa America 2011 fixtures. Reuters

Brazil and Paraguay have made faltering starts to their Copa America 2011 campaigns as the tournament continues to fulfil the creative freedom and excitement that followers expect. The quality in the four games played so far has been severely lacking, with only three goals being scored in the first four matches of the tournament. Brazil and Paraguay looked severely off the pace as they struggled to break down Venezuela and Ecuador respectively.

Brazil looked heavy on their feet during their goalless draw with Venezuela, and despite dominating the game they were unable to break down their opponent's resistance. With Brazil winning their last five encounters with Venezuela, scoring 25 goals in the process most expected the five time champions to walk over their less glamorous opponents. The samba stars spurned several chances in what was largely a scrappy encounter. La Vinotinto opted for a five man midfield and stifled Brazil for most of the game with the Copa America champions only threating on the odd occasion.

Brazil should have opened the scoring in the first minute when ex Manchester City strike Robinho was put clear but he wasted the opportunity. Verde-Amarela had chances to open the scoring when Pato hit the cross bar but Venezuela stood firm and saw the first half out. Chelsea and Real Madrid target, Neymar, looked out of sorts and cut a frustrated figure up front as Brazil struggled to find their rhythm against their hard working opponents. Venezuela remained resolute in defence and could have won the game themselves when Juan Arango missed a glorious chance 15 minutes from time.

Paraguay continued the goalless trend of Group B after they failed to break down Ecuador in their first game of the tournament. The two sides largely cancelled each other out but Paraguay looked the most likely side to win the game. Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz looked lively throughout and should have given his side the lead in the first half but Ecuador goalkeeper Marcelo Elizaga was equal to his effort.

Paraguay dominated the second half but could not find a breakthrough. Los Guaraníes had their best chance of the game on 55 minutes when Marcelo Estigarribia wasted a glorious opportunity, dragging his shot wide. La Tri held firm for the rest of the game which leaves Group B all square going into the second round of fixtures.

Upcoming Fixtures

Monday 4<sup>th July - 23:15 - Uruguay vs. Peru

Tuesday 5<sup>th July - 01:45 - Chile vs. Mexico