Ralph Hannah –
Peru vs Brazil — The hosts received Peru in the Arena Corinthians, a happy hunting ground for Brazil who defeated Paraguay 3-0 (WCQs) and Croatia 3-1 (World Cup opener) in their last two competitive games here. It is also a welcoming crowd for Tite where he won the Brasileirao in 2015.
Peru vs Brazil Goals: 0-1 (Casemiro, 12′), 0-2 (Roberto Firmino, 19’), 0-3 (Everton, 32′), 0-4 (Dani Alves, 53), 0-5 (Willian, 90)
The blanquirroja, hoping to emulate the last Copa America encounter, a 1-0 victory in Foxborough had only made once change. Miguel Araujo in for Carlos Zambrano in defence. Tite decided to start with Gabriel Jesús at the expense of Richarlison and also brought in Gremio winger Everton for David Neres. Both had impressed as substitutes in the previous two matches.
It seemed that Brazil were going to struggle again, the opening 10 minutes saw both sides have possession without penetration, and Casemiro picked up a yellow card which would see him suspended for the next match.
Moments later Casemiro’s name was noted down again, but this time on the scoresheet. Coutinho’s corner was flicked on, and Marquinhos had two free attempts before the Real Madrid midfielder headed in. It was his first ever goal for the Seleçao.
Peru would have hoped to remain calm and try and get back into the game, but that script was thrown out on 19 minutes when Pedro Gallese fluffed his lines. The 29-year-old stopper took too long to clear the ball and hit Roberto Firmino who was closing down, the ball looped over the goalkeeper and hit the post only to fall kindly to the Liverpool striker.
At 2-0 down the shackles were off and Brazil found more space and freedom than in the previous two matches. Everton and Luis Advincula had been having an even contest but with help from the supporting Andy Polo. As Peru pushed on there were more chances one-on-one, Everton fired the first warning on 22 minutes when he won the race against Advincula but couldn’t produce something. Then on 31 minutes, he made it 3-0, once again face-to-face with the fullback he shimmied inside and drilled a low shot past Gallese for his second goal of the competition.
Everton would continue to torment Advincula, who had been one of Peru’s best players so far, going down in the box early in the second half. No penalty was give, but Brazil would get their fourth soon after. Dani Alves betraying his birth certificate with a lung-busting run, playing a one-two with Firmino and then crashing the ball into the roof of the net. At 36 years and 47 years, he is the oldest Brazilian goalscorer at the Copa America at least since 1925 when reliable records existed.
With the substitutions, the game began to slow, but Brazil didn’t let off. In the second half, they had 74% possession and ten shots (five on target), which was even more than in the first period. Eventually one of the replacements got a goal, Willian curled in a wonderful strike on 90 minutes to make it five.
It could almost have been six, Gabriel Jesús was bundled over by Gallese in the final minute of stoppage time, but the Alianza Lima man made amends by saving the Manchester City forward’s spot kick.
At the final whistle, it was celebrations for the verdeamarelho who had recorded their best Copa America victory against a CONMEBOL side since the 6-1 demolition of Chile in 2007. That year they won the tournament, and with the form shown by Everton, who is only playing because of Neymar’s injury, they will be confident going into the knockout stages.
Peru meanwhile will be left to sweat until Monday night when Japan take on Ecuador, their worst Copa defeat since 1997 (a 7-0 reverse against Brazil) means that they will almost certainly go out should Japan win. If Japan were to win 1-0 and have more than two yellow cards, then Peru could sneak it on fair play, but they must be hoping Ecuador show vast improvement.
Peru vs Brazil – Lineups
Gallese – Advincula, Araujo, Abram, Trauco – Yotún, Tapia, Cueva, Farfan, Polo – Guerrero
Manager: Ricardo Gareca
Alisson – Alves, Silva, Marquinhos, Luis – Casemiro, Arthur – Everton, Coutinho, Jesús – Firmino
Ralph Hannah is Londoner, who has lived in Luque and is now located in Miami, with a keen interest in Paraguayan football history and statistics. A frequent traveler throughout Latin America he attends games throughout the region and has written for a variety of publications and set up the first English-language blog on Paraguayan Football. When not in the Defensores del Chaco he’s looking after his 2 daughters. Follow Ralph on Twitter @paraguayralph.