Estadio Municipal German Becker, Temuco
Sunday, June 14 2015; 22:30 GMT
Brazil, hurting from the disastrous defeats at the hands of Germany and then Netherlands in the World Cup 2014, will be looking to win the Copa America to erase the pain the country that lives and breathes football went through. They kick off their campaign against Peru hoping to record their 11th successive win on the trot since the World Cup defeats and are the favorites of the bookies and experts alike to go all the way.
One person who wasn’t part of the World Cup failure and has done remarkably well for club and recently country since is Liverpool FC‘s Philippe Coutinho. Can he play a big part for Dunga?
Peru enter the tournament as one of the minnows, but they will be keen to make a good impression after their surprise third place in Argentina four years ago.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Since being thrashed by Germany and the Netherlands during the latter stages of the World Cup, Brazil have recorded 10 victories in a row, but it hasn’t stopped their supporters demanding an improvement.
The Sele A?o limped to a 1-0 win over Honduras prompting boos for the performance in the friendly game.
And while the fans expect flair and free flowing, attacking football, manager Dunga is known to be the man who believes in words famously said by Bobby Moore: “If you never concede a goal, you’re going to win more games than you lose.”
And perhaps, it is the need of the hour for a team that had conceded 10 goals in the last two games of the World Cup 2014, but, have let in just two goals since September.
While, both, Oscar and Danilo have failed to make the squad due to injury, the resurgence of Philippe Coutinho, a mercurial talent, with Liverpool FC in recent seasons and addition of Dani Alves’ experience as a replacement is hardly a setback.
If anything, Coutinho could prove to be one of the most influential player in the Copa America with Neymar profiting in the same manner as he has at Barcelona from Iniesta and Messi’s creativity.
Dunga is expected to line up in a 4-2-4 formation with some major names face missing out on selection, including Thiago Silva with the manager preferring Miranda instead. Coutinho had missed the training session due to a muscle niggle and is also expected to miss the game.
Brazil will be looking to kick their campaign off in style by sending a message to their rivals. Peru could be a good team to start proceedings against. Brazil fans hoping, in style.
Probable Starting Lineup: Jefferson (GK); Dani Alves, Miranda, David Luiz, Filipe Lu s; Fernandinho, Elias; Willian, Fred; Neymar (Capt), Diego Tardelli.
Peru have impressed at the Copa America on a consistent basis since 1997, with four quarter-finals and two semi-finals being achieved in their last six tournaments.
In a fantastic performance, Peru finished 3rd in the tournament in Argentina but after dropping down to 61 in the FIFA world rankings, they are not fancied to repeat their performance. Drawn alongside Brazil and Colombia, Peru are not expected to do much and thus, may prove to be a dangerous opponent with little to lose.
Peru have hardly created any flutter with their performance since the World Cup with only notable victory coming over Paraguay at the end of 2014. A 1-1 draw with Mexico in the build-up to the Copa America was a decent result, too.
The fate of Peru at this event depends on the performances of the experienced trio of Paolo Guerrero, Jefferson Farfan and Claudio Pizarro, who have 199 caps and 58 goals between them.
Peru will be without their star striker Paulo Guerrero for at least this first game who is out with an ankle problem. He was the top scorer in the last Copa Am rica in 2011 with five goals to his credit.
They won’t expect too much from their meeting with Brazil, but coach Ricardo Gareca is still assessing his squad after just two games in charge and this could be sternest test for his side, so far.
Probable Starting Lineup: Gallese (GK), Zambrano, Advincula, Avila, Cespedes, Ballon, Lobaton, Cueva, Farfan, Sanchez, Pizzaro
Player to Watch
Neymar had scored just two in the 2011 edition of the Copa America. And with the player coming off age this season, top scoring in the UEFA Champion’s League, he will be hoping to continue the form for his club FC Barcelona into the Copa America and upping that tally of two goals.
Brazil 2 – 0 Peru
Peru will be without their influential forward Guerero and Brazil, who have a tremendous defensive record should not really allow Peru to score in the game.
With Neymar is sensational form for his club side, the attacking trio of Tardelli or Firmino, who ever starts off the two, Fred, and Willian will be feeding the FC Barcelona man. It will take brave man to bet against the player not scoring, especially after being questioned over his captaincy role in recent days.