Costa Rica hold Brazil at Copa, Colombia open with win

Brazil have been held to a 0-0 draw by Costa Rica, with the international powerhouse inauspiciously failing to break through offensively in their Copa America opener.

Although Brazil controlled play and outshot Costa Rica 18-2 on Monday night in California, the Selecao were held scoreless by a defence led by goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira, who made three saves while recording his fourth consecutive clean sheet.

The result left Colombia on top of Group D after their opening 2-1 victory over Paraguay.

Brazil have won the Copa America nine times, but their current transitional squad led by Real Madrid stars Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo got off to a discouraging start in front of a lively crowd of 67,158 dominated by their yellow-clad fans at SoFi Stadium.

The draw was a monumental achievement for Costa Rica, the undermanned CONCACAF team with the youngest roster in the tournament. Los Ticos had lost nine straight meetings with Brazil.

Vinicius was taken down in the box in the 22nd minute by a big hit from Haxzel Quiros, but got no whistle.

In the 30th, Rodrygo went low to head on Raphinha's free kick to Marquinhos, who banged it home at the far post. A three-and-a-half-minute VAR review followed, and Mexican referee Cesar Ramos eventually agreed with the assistant's decision to wave it off for offside by a minuscule margin.

In the 39th minute, the Costa Ricans survived a penalty shout for hand ball.

Paqueta ripped a shot off the post in the 63rd then Haxzel Quiros nearly headed the ball into his own net before Sequeira smothered it.

Costa Rica survived again in the 86th minute when Rodrygo failed to capitalise on a pair of scoring chances before Bruno Guimaraes pushed a shot wide in the first minute of added time.

Colombia's Daniel Munoz (centre).
Colombia's Daniel Munoz (21) opened the scoring in his side's win over Paraguay. (AP PHOTO)

Earlier in in Houston, Daniel Munoz scored in the 32nd minute and Jefferson Lerma in the 42nd as Colombia extended their winning streak to nine games.

Colombia, who had 66 per cent possession, are unbeaten in 24 matches since a 1-0 loss at Argentina in a World Cup qualifier on February 1, 2022, winning 19 and drawing five.

James Rodriguez set up both goals for Colombia in his 101st international match, which drew a pro-Colombia crowd of 67,059 to NRG Stadium in Texas.

Julio Enciso scored Paraguay's goal in the 69th minute.

"The players are very focused," Colombia coach Nestor Lorenzo said through an interpreter.

"They are very humble. They know this is a game-by-game situation. Today we had a tough match, and they prevailed. They know what is the right direction and what to do, and the most important match is the next match."

Colombia won the title in 2001 and lost to Argentina on penalty kicks in a 2021 semi-final.