SAO PAULO, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Brazil are favorites to win the Copa America on home soil despite the absence of star forward Neymar, midfielder Casemiro said on Thursday.
Brazil will kick off the competition against Bolivia in Sao Paulo on Friday before facing Venezuela and Peru in Group A.
"Brazil are always the favorites, regardless of the competition," the Real Madrid player told reporters. "We're obliged to play well and to win. We're a very solid team and the new guys that have come in have been training and playing well."
Neymar was ruled out of the continental tournament after suffering an ankle ligament injury in Brazil's 2-0 friendly defeat of Qatar last week.
In his absence, Brazil coach Tite is expected to hand a starting berth to Ajax forward David Neres, who scored his first international goal in the Selecao's 7-0 rout of Honduras on Sunday.
Casemiro called on Brazil's fans to show their support for the Selecao, who are aiming to win the Copa America for a ninth time.
"Without a doubt, it's a dream for us to play such an important competition here in Brazil," the 27-year-old said. "We have to convey that on the pitch. We feel like we're ready and have a lot of enthusiasm but the help of the fans is going to be very important.