The final of the Copa America takes place at the iconic Maracana Stadium on Sunday evening as the latest bunch of Brazil superstars look to bag the first title in 12 years for the Selecao when they go up against Peru.
Peru would not have been expected to be at this stage of the tournament but now they have one crack at a historic triumph in what will hopefully be an entertaining final and a match much more competitive than their group meeting.
It goes without saying that Brazil are the overwhelming favourites to deliver the goods in this final and their biggest opponent could be themselves and the expectation that is on them. To be fair, that burden has not hampered them too much so far in the tournament but you would expect given that this is the final, combined with the opposition they face in it, this will be where the intensity and focus is at its highest.
Brazil are yet to concede a goal in the tournament thus far and it would be quite some achievement if they go on and win the competition with a blank slate against them. It is in the attacking areas where they have looked impressive as well so it is hard to pick a hole in the Selecao as they look to be crowned champions at their own party it has to be said.
It is hard to know how to assess the tournament of Peru but credit naturally needs to be given to them for the fact that they have made it through to this final. They’ve had to dodge the occasional bullet and they’ve looked quite ordinary at times but when they have come up against opponents either weaker than them or stronger ones not on their game they have seen them off. I suspect they’ll need Brazil to be below par here but you never know in a final.
If Peru are going to win this match then it goes without saying that they are going to have to defend a whole lot better than when they took on Brazil in their first encounter in this tournament. They were horrendous that night and it could so easily have cost them. On the bright side, they showed against Chile that they can be ruthless if and when the chances are presented to them.
There is no reason for Brazil to change their side after their wonderful win over Argentina in the semi-final. Willian is injured while there are doubts over the likes of Felipe Luis, Richarlison and Fernandinho.
Peru are not expected to make too many changes for this contest either. They produced their best performance of the semi-final and will hope to do likewise here. Jefferson Farfan is their only big name absentee.
I would be interested to see how Peru play this match but given that they have taken one almighty beating by Brazil in this tournament it is hard to see them being too open and expansive here. They may look to rely on keeping things tight and hoping to land something from a set-piece or the odd counter attack at some point.
To be fair, however they approach this final I expect Brazil to be too good for them. There is a genuine gulf between these two sides and not only has Alisson not conceded a goal yet, he hasn’t really been tested and his goal barely under threat. Brazil look to have plenty at the other end of the pitch so I expect them to win this final without conceding.
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