Brazil v Peru – Maracanã at 21:00 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
The last two Copa America finals have ended in goalless draws, settled on penalties when Argentina and Chile were unable to be split after 120 minutes in back-to-back years. However, Sunday night’s showdown between Brazil and Peru looks unlikely to follow suit with the Selecao hot favourites on home soil.
Tite’s troops are just 1.32 shots to take top honours inside regulation time in Rio and it’s difficult to dismiss the Samba Boys at such quotes. Brazil have suffered a solitary home loss in competitive action since 1975 with the current crop returning W32-D7-L2 and conceding just 10 goals in Tite’s 41 fixtures in charge.
The Selecao also cut Peru to ribbons when the two nations clashed in the final round of group games earlier in the tournament. Tite overloaded his midfield, suffocating Los Incas, and with the underdogs wilting under the pressure, Brazil took advantage of a dreadful defensive display to run out 5-0 victors.
Brazil can cover the handicap
The Asian Handicap around the 1.5 line for the meeting a fortnight ago and the layers are happy to set a similar line for Sunday night’s clash, with Brazil -1.25 the most attractive angle of attack at 1.75. The hosts are unbeaten against CONMEBOL opponents outside of FIFA’s top 20 since 2009 and in fine fettle.
It’s often forgotten how well Brazil played when exiting the World Cup against Belgium 12 months ago, and there’s a strong argument to suggest the Selecao have improved since. The Samba Boys have W12-D3-L0 since their quarter-final elimination in Russia, recording 13 shutouts along the way.
Brazil have dominated the performance data metrics across the Copa thus far, and although Argentina showed signs of promise in their semi-final match-up, the Selecao were ruthless in the way they went about their business. A similar system and approach is likely to be in order here from the confident favourites.
Which Peru side will turn up?
Peru earned plenty of plaudits on their return to the World Cup last summer after a 36-year absence. La Blanquirroja were unable to negotiate a path to the knockout stages but Ricardo Gareca’s crew won many admirers in their three group games, including giving eventual winners France a stern examination.
Results since Russia have been mixed; narrow defeats were incurred against the Netherlands and Germany but Los Incas also suffered defeats at home to Ecuador and Costa Rica, as well as against El Salvador in USA. It was only four triumphs in 14 heading into their semi-final with critics suggesting Ricardo Gareca’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system had become too ponderous and too predictable.
After a decent display against Venezuela, Peru beat Bolivia before getting sliced and diced by Brazil. Gareca’s group survived a one-sided quarter-final contest with Uruguay before finally arriving at the Copa America with an excellent all-round effort against regional rivals Chile, earning their place in the final.
It is worth noting that even on Wednesday, in one of Peru’s greatest recent performances, they were indebted to an excellent display from goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, who kept a Chilean reaction at bay in the second half. And ultimately, this team look likely to come up short again when it matters most.
Gareca will argue his team are ready and waiting for their first Copa América final in 44 years. It will be only the third in their entire history but it’s not easily forgotten that this team failed to score in three of their first four matches this summer and the psychological scars inflicted by their recent pummelling against Brazil may not have healed in time to ensure this is a competitive contest.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Brazil -1.25 at 1.750
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.