Plagued by low-scoring games, the Copa America finally came to life on the final day of group play when favorites Argentina and Brazil finally recorded their first wins -- and big wins at that.
Argentina star Lionel Messi had seen little of the ball in the first two games, so Coach Sergio Batista abandoned his defensive tactics that included four ball winners in midfield. Four lineup changes, including the insertion of stylish Fernando Gago in midfield, turned things around, and Messi was excellent in the 3-0 win over Costa Rica.
Like Argentina, Brazil opened with a pair of ties before coming to life with a 4-2 win over Ecuador. Coach Mano Menezes brought in Maicon at right back for Daniel Alves, and the Inter Milan player stretched the Ecuador defense. In midfield, Robinho was moved back in the middle, and the switch resulted in a pair of goals each for Neymar and Alexandre Pato.