Hosts and defending champions Brazil have made a successful start to the Copa America.

The team around superstar Neymar won the opening game of the South American Championship on Sunday (local time) against Venezuela in the Mané Garrincha stadium in Brasília 3-0 (1-0).

The goals came from defender Marquinhos after a corner kick from Neymar in the 23rd minute, Neymar with a penalty (64th) and Gabriel "Gabigol" Barbosa (89th).

Sergio Córdova was substituted on for Venezuela by Arminia Bielefeld. Former Bundesliga professional Tomás Rincón from Turin FC did not travel to Brazil with the Venezuelan team because of Covid 19 symptoms. "I'm proud of these guys," said Portuguese coach José Peseiro after the game. "Everyone knew the difficulties, we couldn't do more." After positive corona tests from around a dozen of its delegation members - among them eight players - Venezuela had brought 15 new players at short notice in an emergency. The South American Football Association Conmebol had previously lifted the limit of players who can be replaced.

Brazil captain Casemiro, who had previously expressed his discomfort about the Copa America being held in his home country, said on television: “It could be a friendly, Copa America, World Cup - we play to win.

Venezuela wanted a draw, but we were focused and aggressive in the last third of the field. "

A few weeks before the start of the tournament, first Colombia and then Argentina dropped out as the host.

The Conmebol then moved the Copa América to Brazil, which led to widespread criticism.

In the country with 210 million inhabitants, almost 17.4 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, and more than 486,000 people have died in connection with Covid-19.

In Group B, Colombia also started the tournament well with a 1-0 (1-0) win over Ecuador.

The second group of five with Argentina as favorites will start their games this Monday.

Four teams each qualify for the quarter-finals.

Investigation after Maradona's death

Meanwhile, more than six months after the death of Argentina's football icon Diego Maradona, the judicial investigation into suspected manslaughter is entering its decisive phase.

The public prosecutor's office begins the individual interrogations of seven suspects before a court decides on the opening of criminal proceedings after evaluating the results.

The surveys were originally supposed to take place in May.

Due to the worsening of the corona crisis in Argentina, however, the interrogations were initially postponed.

According to the French news agency AFP, Maradona's neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque has now been invited for the last interview in the series on June 28.

If charged, the accused face between eight and 25 years' imprisonment in a process that could last for years.

The suspicion is based on the research results of a medical expert committee.

After an investigation into Maradona's death from a heart attack, the final report came to the conclusion that the 1986 world champion, who died at the age of 60 at the end of November, received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “long, painful period”.

The dying process started "at least twelve hours" before Maradona's death.

Nothing was done to prevent his death

The investigation was triggered by a complaint brought against Luque by two of Maradona's five daughters. The Maradona children blame Luque for their father's deteriorating condition after brain surgery last October. Prosecutors believe Maradona's death was not the result of malpractice or negligence on the part of his doctors, but that the medics knew the former soccer star was going to die and did nothing to prevent his death. The prosecutors allegedly received a series of messages and audio recordings showing that the medical team understood that Maradona had been using alcohol, psychotropic drugs and marijuana in the final months of his life.