Hosts Brazil will take on a Peru side they comfortably saw off during the group stage in the final of the 2019 Copa America at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday (4pm ET).
Brazil had won all four of the previous Copa Americas they had hosted prior to this year’s tournament. After narrowly getting the better of rivals Argentina in their semi-final on Tuesday, they are now the clear favorites to go on and make it five out of five.
Argentina presented a tougher challenge than they were perhaps expected to, given their previous performances in the competition. Despite taking an early lead through Gabriel Jesus, Brazil didn’t have things all their own way. Argentina twice struck the woodwork, had a couple of penalty claims turned down, and comfortably outshot them.
A swift counter-attack following the first of those Argentinian penalty appeals produced a second goal for Brazil. Gabriel Jesus returned the favor from the first by driving into the area and setting up Roberto Firmino to tap home. It was a decisive blow from which Argentina were unable to recover, and so it was Brazil who advanced to the final.
Tite’s side haven’t always sparkled in this competition, particularly not in 0-0 draws with Venezuela in the group stage and Paraguay in a quarter-final decided by penalties, but they have been so solid in defence that they haven’t needed to be at their best offensively. They are yet to concede in five matches and are only the second finalist (in addition to Colombia in 2001) to achieve that since the switch to the current format in 1993.
Even without the injured Neymar, their attack has produced enough to see them through to the final. Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and the Cruzeiro forward Everton have all scored twice. After nine previous goalless appearances in World Cup and Copa America action, Gabriel Jesus finally notched his first tournament goal against Argentina.
Indeed, Brazil may very well be looking forward to facing the team against whom they produced their best attacking display of the tournament in a 5-0 win during the group stage. That time Peru had no response as Brazil scored three times before the break and twice thereafter to record a comfortable victory that confirmed their progression as group winners.
On Sunday, Peru coach Ricardo Gareca knows that he has to come up with a better plan. He is capable, as he demonstrated in their 3-0 semi-final win over Chile. With their opponents in possession, they remained compact centrally, used wingers to help double up defensively down the flanks, and then burst forward at pace whenever play turned over. When they had the ball themselves, they moved it well to create shooting opportunities.
Peru took the lead through Edison Flores 20 minutes in. They then doubled their advantage prior to the interval when a combination of a simple long ball forward over the Chile defence and reckless goalkeeping presented Yoshimar Yotun with the opportunity to fire crisply into an unguarded net. Thereafter, Chile hit the post and Pedro Gallese made a couple of good saves before Paulo Guerrero’s finished things off in stoppage time.
The result was that Peru advanced to their first Copa America final since 1975, the last time they won the competition. After reaching the semi-final in Chile four years ago, it represents another step forward for Gareca and his side, who became the first Peruvian team to contest a World Cup in 36 years at Russia 2018.
Peru don’t have to go back too far to find their last victory over Brazil. A contentious goal from Raul Ruidiaz saw them to a 1-0 win that eliminated Brazil at the group stage of the Copa America Centenario in 2016. In general, though, it is Brazil who have the upper hand in these fixtures, having won five of the last six meetings between the sides.
Our Preview’s Brazil vs Peru Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
It is Brazil who should be fancied to emerge victorious from Sunday’s final. The margin of victory is unlikely to be as high as it was in their group stage encounter, but given that Brazil are yet to concede and that Peru have failed to score in three of their five matches to date, a Brazilian victory to nil looks the most likely outcome. These are our Brazil vs Peru predictions with the American-facing sportsbooks for this preview:
- Bet on Brazil both to win 2-0 @ +425 and also to win 3-0 at +650, both bets with Bovada on their ‘correct score’ market for the matchup.