Brazil and Peru will have the chance to become the South American champions when they face off in the Copa America final at the Maracana.

This is it, the grand finale of the 2019 Copa America, which will determine who gets crowned the champions of South America. Setting the stage for the final game of the tournament are Brazil and Peru, who will meet for the second time in the competition following their clash in the group stage.

Brazil have lived up to their billing of being the pre-tournament favourites thus far, even if they have not been at their fluid best at all times. But, the impressive part about the Selecao‘s campaign is the fact that they are yet to concede a goal following five matches in the 2019 Copa America.

Their most recent encounter saw Tite & co. get past arch-rivals Argentina courtesy a 2-0 win in their semi-final, although the contest has been followed with a bit of controversy. Their opponents, Peru, on the other hand, have been the giant-killers of the 2019 Copa America.

While La Blanquirroja only made it to the knockout stages on the back of being the best third-placed team in the competition, they have since gone on to beat two of the favourites to win the 2019 Copa America, Uruguay and defending champions Chile. For Peru to now win their third Copa America, they need another giant-killing act against Brazil.

Their most recent encounter, as iterated earlier, came in the group stage, wherein Brazil handed a 5-0 mauling to Peru. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the 2019 Copa America final.

Team News & Tactics

Brazil

Can Brazil cross the final hurdle? (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Can Brazil cross the final hurdle? (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

All through the knockout stages there has been one issue or the other hampering Brazil, when it comes to the availability of key personnel. Tite was first forced to be without Richarlison, who went down with mumps and subsequently missed the quarter-final tie against Paraguay.

Then, Filipe Luis picked up a thigh injury, which left him sidelined for the clash with Argentina last time out. And now, Willian has been ruled out of the final against Peru after sustaining a hamstring injury. The good news though, is the fact that Richarlison is available, and so is Luis.

The most key news though, surrounds Alisson Becker, who is showing no ill effects of a back pain that bothered him for a while recently. The 26-year-old is set to take the field against Peru, and will be hoping to continue his scintillating run of form that has seen him keep eight successive clean sheets for club and country.

In front of him, Marquinhos and Thiago Silva are certain starters at the heart of the Brazil defence, while Dani Alves will don the armband. The left-back slot is a major bone of contention for Tite, with Luis only joining full training two days ahead of the final. With Alex Sandro performing quite well in his absence, it is likely that Luis will miss out against Peru.

The rest of the side should remain unchanged, with Casemiro and Arthur forming the double pivot in the middle of the park. While Casemiro will be the midfield destroyer, playing the Anchor Man role in front of the defence, Arthur will be the deep lying playmaker, pulling the strings in the centre of the pitch.

The chief playmaker for Brazil though, will be Philippe Coutinho, who has signalled a return to form in the 2019 Copa America. On his left, will be Everton, with Willian’s injury all but confirming his status as a starter in the final.

On the opposite flank, Richarlison will have to suffice with a place on the bench due to the rapid impact Gabriel Jesus has made in his two starts. The 22-year-old grabbed a goal and assist apiece against Argentina and so did Brazil striker Roberto Firmino, who will lead the line for the hosts against Peru once again.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Alex Sandro; Arthur, Casemiro; Jesus, Coutinho, Everton; Firmino

Brazil

Peru

Like Brazil, Peru will be missing out on the services of one of their long-time servants. Jefferson Farfan has seen his 2019 Copa America campaign being brought to a premature end due to a knee injury and Ricardo Gareca will have to make do without the veteran forward once again.

In his stead, Christian Cueva will continue to fill the role in the hole, looking to pull the strings against the might Brazil defence. Flanking the 27-year-old will be two wingers who have made all the difference to an otherwise sluggish Peru side, Edison Flores and Andre Carrillo.

But, the key man in attack for Peru will be captain and record scorer Paolo Guerrero. The veteran striker has been on the prowl at the 2019 Copa America, finding the back of the net twice for Los Incas. And, Guerrero will be hoping to strike once again, so as to spring one final surprise in the competition.

In the middle of the park, Yoshimar Yotun and Renato Tapia will hold the key for Peru, with their tenacious presence in the midfield double pivot being crucial in stopping Coutinho from running riot. The duo will also hope to recycle the ball effectively when the chance presents itself.

At the back, Luis Advincula and Miguel Trauco will have the unenviable task of keeping Everton and Gabriel Jesus quiet, while Carlos Zambrano and Luis Abram will be looking to shut out Roberto Firmino. Pedro Gallese will man the goal for Peru, where he will likely be a busy man.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun; Carrillo, Cueva, Flores; Guerrero

Peru

Key Stats

  • Brazil have been utterly dominant in their 45 previous meetings with Peru, winning 32 games and losing just four times (D9).
  • Three of Peru’s four wins have come in the Copa America – including one in Brazil en route to the 1975 title – while their most recent triumph sent the Selecao crashing out of the last edition of the tournament in 2016.
  • Peru are in the Copa America final for the first time in 44 years – La Blanquirroja are unbeaten in Copa America finals, having been victorious on each of the two occasions they’ve made it to the title deciding clash (1939 and 1975).
  • Brazil boast the best attack and defence in the 2019 Copa America, having found the back of the net 10 times while conceding zero goals.
  • Alisson has kept a clean sheet in each of his last nine games in all competitions for Brazil and Liverpool, last conceding on May 4.

Player to Watch

Paolo Guerrero

Guerrero needs to lead from the front for Peru to spring one final surprise. (Photo by Wagner Meier/Getty Images)

Guerrero needs to lead from the front for Peru to spring one final surprise. (Photo by Wagner Meier/Getty Images)

Peru have been on a giant-killing run in the knockout stages of the 2019 Copa America. But, in Brazil they face a formidable defence that will take something special to breach. And, embodying the determination that is needed to get past Brazil in the final, is Paolo Guerrero.

The veteran striker has strove long and hard to make Peru a relevant force in South American football and his goal against Chile was another occasion wherein he stepped up when the occasion demanded it. Now, one final hurdle remains for Guerrero and his side, and his output will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.

Prediction

Brazil 2-0 Peru

Brazil featured in the curtain raiser of the 2019 Copa America three weeks ago and as those curtains fall on the 46th edition of the tournament, it will be Brazil who will be looking to end it on a high. Up against them are a Peru side that seem to have learnt a great deal from the 5-0 thrashing in their final group stage game.

Los Incas have since kept clean sheets in each of their subsequent two games and a stubborn defence will aim to keep the strong Brazil attack out on Sunday. And, just like their efforts in the semi-final against Chile, Peru will have to be clinical, seeing as the Selecao will likely dominate possession at the Maracana.

On the other end, Peru will have to pull their weight and more if they have to stand a chance at scoring even one goal. In the end though, the formidable Brazilian side is unlikely to be beaten and we expect an unprecedented campaign to be culminated with another clean sheet for Alisson. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for Brazil to lift their 9th Copa America crown.