Brazil v Peru: Copa America hosts hope for repeat of 2019 final

By Sports Desk June 16, 2021

Brazil head into Thursday's Copa America clash with Peru with history firmly on their side.

Having taken on hosting duties at the last minute, Brazil started their Copa campaign with a win over Venezuela last time out.

Their second Group B game sees Tite's side take on Peru, who they beat 3-1 in Rio de Janeiro to clinch the trophy back in 2019.

While the Estadio de Maracana hosted the showdown on that occasion, Rio's less illustrious venue – Estadio Nilton Santos – is the location of this meeting, with Brazil boasting a record of seven wins, two draws and just one defeat from their last 10 matches against Peru.

Brazil are on a seven-match unbeaten run in the Copa America, with all of those games having been played on home soil across the last two editions of the competition.

Indeed, their last defeat in the tournament came against Peru back in 2016, though Brazil should be confident of maintaining their winning start.

Peru have only won one of their last nine games in total, though that did come in their prior match against Ecuador – the last team they had previously beaten were Brazil in a friendly in September 2019.

In his pre-match news conference, Brazil coach Tite confirmed there will be at least one change, with Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson coming in for Alisson.

"There are three goalkeepers of very high levels. Two are among the best in the world," said Tite. 

"Weverton has been doing a very high level of work in the Libertadores. We are working, doing the analysis together and in this game we decided for Ederson."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brazil – Neymar

If Brazil are going to defend their crown, they want their poster boy to be on top form. Neymar started well, scoring a penalty and setting up Gabigol's effort in the 3-0 win over Venezuela. He has also completed the most dribbles (six) of any player so far in the competition.

Peru – Gianluca Lapadula

Lapadula seems likely to lead Peru's line in Rio and comes into the game on the back of an impressive performance against Ecuador, in which he created both of the goals for Ricardo Gareca's team.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Peru are the last team that beat Brazil as a visitor in the Copa America – the Incas beat them 3-1 in the 1975 semi-final.
- Since then, Brazil have gone 21 games without a loss at home (13 wins, eight draws).
- Casemiro was the player who recovered the most balls on the first day of the Copa America (15, three more than Juan Cuadrado, his nearest challenger).
- Gareca will lead Peru for a fourth time in the Copa America – he is the coach with the most matches in charge of the national team in the competition (16).
- Brazil had 61.7 per cent possession against Venezuela, registering a pass accuracy of 89.1 per cent (from 550 passes in total). They had 18 attempts compared to three, with seven hitting the target.

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  • Vinicius calls for patience as Brazil improvements acknowledged Vinicius calls for patience as Brazil improvements acknowledged

    Vinicius Junior acknowledged that he and his team-mates must improve following their goalless draw with Costa Rica in their opening game of the Copa America. 

    The nine-time champions were frustrated by their opponents at the SoFi Stadium, with Los Ticos becoming only the third CONCACAF side to keep a clean sheet against the Selecao Canarinho at the tournament after Mexico (2001 and 2007) and Honduras (2001).

    Brazil registered 19 attempts at Patrick Sequeira's goal, but only three were on target, with Rodrygo (6) and Lucas Paqueta (5) having the majority of those chances. 

    Vinicius failed to make an impact on proceedings in Los Angeles and was replaced by future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick for the final 20 minutes. 

    The 23-year-old has now been substituted in Brazil's last six competitive matches and knows Dorival Junior's side must improve to achieve success at the tournament. 

    "We know we can improve, we have to improve," Vinícius said. "I also know what I can improve, evolve and do for our team."

    Vinicius, who scored 24 goals in 39 appearances for Los Blancos this season, arrived at the tournament with the weight of a nation on his shoulders with all-time leading scorer Neymar, out of the Copa America due to injury. 

    The Real Madrid winger has registered just one assist in his last five appearances for his nation, but has called for patience from the Brazil fans. 

    "New coach, new players, everything takes time," Vinícius said. "Our fans want everything immediately done, but we're going little by little. In the next game, I'm sure we'll play much better because we now already understand what the competition will be like, what the pitch, what the referees will be like.

    "Every time I enter the field for the national team, I have three or four players marking me."

    Brazil face Paraguay in Las Vegas on Saturday before concluding their Group D campaign against Colombia, who beat the Albirroja on Matchday 1. 

  • Dorival bemoans lack of end product as Brazil frustrated in Copa America opener Dorival bemoans lack of end product as Brazil frustrated in Copa America opener

    Dorival Junior bemoaned a lack of end product after Brazil were frustrated in a goalless draw with Costa Rica in their Copa America opener on Monday.

    Despite enjoying 73.5% of the possession and firing off 19 shots to their opponents' two, Brazil failed to win their first game at a Copa America for the first time since 2016.

    The Selecao's 49 final-third entries throughout the match were the joint-most since such data began being recorded in 2011, alongside their own tally versus Paraguay in 2019, yet they only registered a paltry three shots on target.

    The result means Brazil have lost early ground on Colombia, who lead Group D following their 2-1 win over Paraguay earlier on Monday.

    Speaking after the game, Dorival said: "We rotated the ball well, went from side to side and got our attackers one-versus-one. 

    "We have a smaller field and that makes it easier for those who defend and difficult for those who attack. Vini received the ball with two men on him and a third approaching. 

    "We tried with Savio and were successful in some moments. The detail and definition were lacking, but freedom was given, everyone had the opportunity. 

    "We lacked some in-depth moves. It was the aspect that we intensified the most in training, this dirty work to find space between the opposing lines.

    "Our ball recovery was impressive. In my opinion, what was missing too much was that we failed to do this job of spreading the opponent's backline more."

    Vinicius Junior endured an underwhelming performance, being replaced by future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick with 71 minutes gone after failing to record a single shot and only managing five touches in the Costa Rica area.

    Asked about the decision to withdraw the winger, who shone as Madrid won a Champions League and LaLiga double in 2023-24, Dorival said: "We put him on the side, on the inside, we didn't find the way with either. 

    "He was well marked and we had to look for a solution, to make a change. 

    "I believe the game was well played within a context. We played closely, we created good chances, but we weren't happy with the finishing. 

    "The games will be like this, we have to find ways to improve. It is natural that if the result does not come, questions arise, but I know what we are developing." 

  • Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener Brazil 0-0 Costa Rica: Wasteful Selecao frustrated in Copa America opener

    Brazil began their Copa America campaign with a frustrating goalless draw against Costa Rica at the SoFi Stadium.

    The Selecao dominated large periods of the Group D clash. Marquinhos saw a goal ruled out following a VAR review, while Lucas Paqueta rattled the woodwork from distance.

    Yet despite enjoying just under three-quarters of the possession and registering 19 shots to their opponents' two, they could not find the breakthrough and failed to win their opening match in the competition for the first time since 2016.

    Dorival Junior's side subsequently lost early ground on Group D leaders Colombia, who beat Paraguay 2-1 earlier in the day.

    Brazil quickly asserted their authority on proceedings in California as they sought the game's opening goal.

    Rodrygo steered a shot wide following a jinking run into the penalty area, while Raphinha was denied by Patrick Sequeira after latching onto a diagonal ball over the top of the Costa Rica defence.

    The Selecao thought they had broken the deadlock on the half-hour mark when Marquinhos applied the finishing touch after Rodrygo glanced Raphinha's free-kick towards the far post, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside following a VAR review. 

    Rodrygo fired narrowly over in first-half stoppage time and, then on 63 minutes, Lucas Paqueta saw his ferocious 25-yard drive crash against Sequeira's left upright.

    Dorival withdrew the quiet Vinicius Junior in favour of Endrick and Savinho for the final 20 minutes, and both looked dangerous upon their introductions.

    The latter's cross almost saw Costa Rica defender Haxzel Quiros head into his own net with his blushes spared by Sequeira, who then beat away Guilherme Arana's fierce volley.

    Savinho was involved again in stoppage time as he teed up one final opportunity for Bruno Guimaraes, who bent his first-time shot narrowly wide to compound a frustrating start to the tournament for the nine-time winners.

    Selecao stutter on return to States

    It is fair to say Brazil do not boost particularly fond recent memories of playing in the United States in recent years.

    After all, the Selecao crashed out in the group stages when the Copa America was last held in this nation eight years ago.

    Neymar, who was part of that side, watched on from the stands having been ruled out of this tournament through injury.

    Try as they may, his team-mates just could not break down their opponents and turn their dominance into the elusive goal, with just three of their 19 attempts on target.

    Fresh from playing a starring role in Real Madrid’s LaLiga and Champions League double, Vinicius Junior was unable to inspire his nation – his tallies of 45 touches and 23 passes were the lowest recorded by any of Brazil’s outfield starters.

    On a brighter note, Marquinhos made his 16th Copa America appearance – with only Dani Alves (19) and Thiago Silva (18) playing more times for the Selecao in the competition since 2000 – though a VAR review prevented him from marking the occasion with a goal.

    Another clean sheet for repellent Costa Rica

    Costa Rica were heavy underdogs on their return to the Copa America for the first time in eight years.

    Not since 2004 have Los Ticos progressed from the group stages of this competition, but they certainly know what it takes to claim a scalp on the big stage.

    Exactly 10 years ago, they beat Uruguay and Italy to top Group D, which also featured England, on the way to reaching the World Cup quarter-finals.

    Fast forward a decade and Joel Campbell, who was part of that side, came off the bench for his 140th cap as his nation halted a run of nine successive defeats by Brazil. 

    More impressively, Costa Rica have kept clean sheets in each of their last four competitive games.

    Their failure to record a single shot on target for the first time in a Copa America match since 2011 will be a slight concern, but that defensive stubbornness will stand them in good stead as they look to progress in this tournament.

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