Brazil v Peru: Hosts can seal another Copa América crown in Rio

Brazil goalkeeper Alisson
Alisson and Brazil have yet to concede a goal

Jack Lang expects the Seleção to get the job done at the Maracanã...

"Tite's side have shown impressive mental strength and durability – a fact illustrated by their superb defensive record. Five matches into this tournament, Brazil have yet to concede a single goal"

Brazil v Peru
Sunday, 21:00
Live on Premier Sports 1

Hosts will take some stopping

History dictates that when Brazil host the Copa América, they win it: they have done so on each of the four occasions that the tournament has taken place in their back yard. It would be a major surprise were they not to make that five in five on Sunday, their more traditional rivals having fallen by the wayside. With Colombia and Uruguay falling unexpectedly at the quarter-final stage, Tuesday's game against a mediocre Argentina was as hard as it got for the Seleção.

They have not enchanted throughout the tournament: they started in stodgy style, and even their 5-0 win over Peru owed as much to their opponents' failings as their own good play. But Tite's side have shown impressive mental strength and durability - a fact illustrated by their superb defensive record. Five matches into this tournament, Brazil have yet to concede a single goal, and only rarely have they every looked remotely like doing so. That is testament to the members of the backline, but also those in front: Tite views defending as a collective enterprise, so even the forwards play their part.

The Seleção have one injury doubt ahead of the final: left-back Filipe Luís is still struggling with a minor hamstring issue. If he fails to prove his fitness, Alex Sandro will stand in again. Willian has already been ruled out with a muscle strain, but Alisson has recovered from a minor back problem and will start in what could be an unchanged XI.

Peru already on cloud nine

'Happy just to be there' would be a slightly condescending cliche to apply to Peru this weekend, but there's an element of truth to it. Los Incas have reached the Copa América final for the first time on 44 years - a fine achievement whichever way you cut it, and the latest chapter in a remarkable run under Ricardo Gareca. They reached the semi-finals in 2015 and 2016, too, and of course appeared the World Cup last summer, 36 years later. Whatever happens next, this team has put Peru back in the map.

The task for Gareca is to ensure his charges produce a performance like the one against Chile, which displayed all of their best characteristics: a high press, daring passing, and speed on the flanks. Previous displays in this competition had been a touch muted, and that's before you even get to the disastrous 5-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil in the group stage. That was a night to forget for various players - goalkeeper Pedro Gallese especially - and it will important to view this as a chance to give a better account of themselves.

Brazil strong favourites

Peru actually started that previous meeting very well, hassling Brazil in their own half and generating a few nerves. But they found themselves 3-0 down in a flash, with Gallese directly culpable for two of the goals. From that point, they shrunk into their shells, but it was not particularly representative of the quality in this squad.

We should expect a more competent display at the Maracanã. Confidence will be flowing after Wednesday's game, and Gareca made a point of saying that Peru will be going all-out for the victory. Will that be enough? That's unlikely: Brazil have home advantage, and greater quality all over the pitch. But it's unlikely this will be a thrashing.

Brazil are strong favourites to win in 90 minutes at 1.331/3. That is too short for our taste, but we like the look of a couple of options on the Correct Score market. Dutching 2-0 and 3-0 scorelines yields odds of around 2.91, which looks a reasonable bet.

Jesus can have his say

Gabriel Jesus finally ended his goal drought at major tournaments against Argentina, slotting home from close range some 676 minutes later. He is a much better player than that stat suggests - and far better than many think - and he will be keen to maintain the momentum on Sunday. An OddsBoost on him scoring first is a welcome sight on the Sportsbook, and we're happy to side with the 22-year-old at 4.57/2.

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