Philippe Coutinho starts as Brazil cruise to friendly victory over Panama

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Philippe Coutinho produced an impressive performance for Brazil on Sunday, as the South American giants overcame Panama in a friendly in Denver.

With Copa America on the horizon, Brazil coach Dunga continued to assess his options at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park as the weekend came to a close.

Coutinho is expected to feature prominently for his country this summer, following another strong season for Liverpool, and he was given his chance on shine on Sunday.

Panama were admittedly limited opponents for a team of Brazil’s calibre, but Coutinho helped his side to a comfortable 2-0 win.

Jonas gave the four-time World Cup winners the lead within two minutes – his first international goal for nearly five years – and debutant Gabriel put the game to bed in the second half.

Coutinho was a lively presence throughout, but he missed two good chances in the first half, dragging both efforts wide.

The 23-year-old almost registered an assist after the break, but Hulk couldn’t convert his precise cross with his head.

Coutinho was replaced late in the day for returning Brazilian legend Kaka, and he had further enhanced his reputation on the international stage.

Copa America runs from 3rd June to 26th June, with the United States hosting the tournament. Argentina are the current favourites.

Brazil are in a group alongside Ecuador (4th June), Haiti (8th June) and Peru (12th June), and Coutinho will hope to inspire his country to a ninth success in the competition.

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