Argentina's Renzo Saravia, Guido Pizarro, Rodrigo De Paul and Lionel Messi looked dejected after their loss to Colombia after the match. Photo: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters

Buenos Aires Argentina captain Lionel Messi has demanded a reaction from his side after opening the Copa America with a loss for the first time since 1979.

"Heads up and onwards," the superstar forward said after the 2-0 defeat to Colombia late Saturday in Brazil. "There are no excuses.

"We have to take the positives and think about the next match."

Argentine media considered their captain Messi not hiding after the opening disappointing a good signal.

In contrast to the Barcelona striker, Brazil star Neymar can no longer influence matters on the pitch having been ruled out with injury. However, his team started the competition with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Saturday without him.

"It can go very quickly," said Messi, who remains without a title for the national team. "We still have plenty of chances to qualify. It has just started."

Failing to escape the group, even with defeat to James Rodriguez and company, would be a massive surprise.

The Clarin newspaper said though that the team left "many doubts with a view to the future," after also struggling at the 2018 World Cup. They lost in the last 16 in Russia to eventual winners France.

Argentina, and Messi, had previously lost the 2014 World Cup final to Germany in extra-time and consecutive Copa finals on penalties to Chile in 2015 and 2016.

Roger Martinez opened the scoring from James' assist in the 71st minute of the match with Argentina in Salvador da Bahia. The Albiceleste's defeat in north-eastern Brazil was then confirmed by Duvan Zapata's late second.

While Argentina must bounce back, Brazil can be cautiously optimistic despite labouring en route to an opening day win. All three of their goals against Bolivia came in the second half with Philippe Coutinho's brace after the restart settling nerves in Sao Paulo.

"We have started well but as time progressed without us scoring the team became a little uncertain," said Brazil coach Tite. "In the second half our game came through."

The Selecao found themselves frustrated by the Bolivian defence in the first half, hampered by careless passing

"At the end, with more patience, we opened up the pitch, had more ball possession, have made moves," said captain Dani Alves.

On Tuesday Brazil face Venezuela, who started Group A with a goalless draw against Peru. Argentina must wait until Wednesday to try to get their Group B campaign back on track against Paraguay.

dpa