Brazil are aiming for their second consecutive final at the Copa America 2021 as they take on Peru in the semi-final on Monday.
After surviving a scare against Chile in the quarter-final, Brazil will now set their sights on the final, as they take on Peru on Monday. This semi-final clash at the Copa America 2021 will be hosted at Estadio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro.
The 2019 Copa America champions Brazil are the undisputed favourites heading into this clash, having breezed through Group A with ten points in four matches. They were in a bit of trouble against Chile in the quarter-final, though. A goal from Lucas Paqueta was the only difference between the two sides in a game that saw the Selecao being reduced to ten men following Gabriel Jesus’ horror tackle on Ben Brereton.
Their semi-final opponents Peru also had to cope with a tense affair in the last round. They drew 3-3 with Paraguay, with Gabriel Avalos scoring a late equaliser shortly after Peru’s Andre Carrillo was sent off. The two sides were then involved in a tense penalty shootout where Alberto Espinola’s miss allowed Miguel Trauco to seal the win for Ricardo Gareca’s men.
This will be a rematch of the 2019 Copa America final, where the hosts had once again emerged 3-1 victorious over their Peruvian rivals. Brazil and Peru have also met earlier in the tournament, with the Selecao securing a thumping 4-0 victory.
However, with a lot more at stake, the dynamic of this game will be a lot different. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this blockbuster semi-final encounter this Monday.
Team News & Tactics
The absence of Gabriel Jesus does not bode well for a Brazil team that might lack productivity going forward. Nevertheless, Tite has no option but to replace him, with Lucas Paqueta likely to come in, having scored the winner in the quarter-final against Chile.
Paqueta should operate in the number ten position, allowing Neymar and Richarlison to play out wide. The Brazil attack will be spearheaded by Neymar, even though Roberto Firmino is likely to operate in the number nine position.
The fact that all of these four attackers can effortlessly switch positions works in favour of Brazil. It might make things difficult for Peru to properly mark any of them, thus relying on a compact shape that will allow the marauding full-backs in Renan Lodi and Danilo to make overlapping runs out wide.
Lodi, in particular, is a vital asset in the left-back position. He has the ability to stretch out the opposition lines, allowing more space for the attackers. On the other hand, Danilo may operate in a more conservative role, looking to aid the two central defenders in Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.
In midfield, Fred has been in inspiring form, becoming Brazil’s first-choice option over Fabinho. The Manchester United star should once again operate in the double-pivot alongside Casemiro, who will undoubtedly play deeper in order to protect the backline.
Brazilian coach Tite does have a wealth of exciting options on the bench, including chance creators like Everton and Vinicius Junior, while Gabigol is a direct replacement for Firmino.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Danilo, Silva, Marquinhos, Lodi; Fred, Casemiro; Richarlison, Paqueta, Neymar; Firmino
While Brazil misses Gabriel Jesus, Peru will have to make do without their key frontman Andre Carrillo following his dismissal in the quarter-final. His absence at right-wing should give Alex Valera an opportunity to impress.
The 27-year-old is expected to form Peru’s creative trifecta alongside Sergio Pena and Christian Cueva as they look to provide the supply for top-scorer Gianluca Lapadula. Santiago Ormeno is a potential alternative for Lapadula or even Valera, while Raziel Garcia is another option.
In midfield, Peru coach Ricardo Gareca should persist with the double-pivot of Renato Tapia and Yoshimar Yotun. They provide a good balance in the middle of the park, although the Peruvians always have the option of deploying Wilder Cartagena, should they embrace a more defensive approach.
Speaking of defence, Gareca is unlikely to make any changes to the backline despite conceding a lot of goals in the tournament so far. Christian Ramos and Anderson Santamaria are pivotal at the heart of the backline, with additional support being provided by Aldo Corzo and Miguel Trauco.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Corzo, Santamaria, Ramos, Trauco; Yotun, Tapia; Valera, Pena, Cueva; Lapadula
- Brazil are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions, with their most recent defeat coming against Argentina in November 2019.
- Brazil and Peru met in the Copa America 2019 final, another game where Gabriel Jesus was sent off even though the Selecao comfortably won 3-1.
- Only Lionel Messi (8) has been involved in more goals than Brazil’s Neymar (4) in this competition so far.
- Since November 2016, Peru have met Brazil seven times, winning just once while facing six defeats.
- No other team has conceded more goals than Peru (10, tied with Bolivia) in Copa America 2021.
Player to Watch
Throughout his career, Neymar has always been a player who got stuck between two generations. He has won significant crowns with both club and country but has had to live under the shadow of Lionel Messi when it comes to South American footballing legacy. It is becoming a similar story in Copa America 2021, with the PSG’s forward contributions for Brazil being overshadowed by the Argentine ace.
However, with La Albiceleste facing a strong test against Colombia, Neymar will have the opportunity to steer his side into the final and potentially help his nation lift the Copa America title for the second consecutive time.
From a tactical perspective, Neymar becomes even more crucial, as the Selecao look to emerge victorious without the services of one of their important players in Gabriel Jesus. The 29-year-old’s offensive contribution, therefore, could be critical for the hosts.
Brazil 2-0 Peru
After stumbling to a 4-0 defeat in the group stages, Peru are expected to provide a much more resilient display on Monday, knowing what’s at stake. However, without their key frontman Andre Carrillo, they might struggle to breach the star-studded Brazilian defence that showcased excellent solidity in the quarter-final affair against Chile.
The hosts, in contrast, are once again expected to have a go at the Peruvian defence that has looked shaky, to say the least. The offensive connection between Neymar and other attackers could indeed prove to be the X-factor, with The Hard Tackle predicting a 2-0 win for Brazil.