Maracana - Copa America
After coming through their seismic semi-final against bitter rivals Argentina, hosts Brazil face Peru in the Copa America final. The Selecao have never failed to win the competition on home soil, but can Los Incas break that record and local hearts inside the Maracana at the same time?
Brazil spanked Peru 5-0 in the group stages of this tournament, with five different scorers on target - Casemiro, Roberto Firmino, Everton, Dani Alves and Willian. Peru have only beaten the Selecao once in their last 16 attempts, although that was relatively recently in 2016, at the Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts.
Brazil head coach Tite has little reason to change much for this game, with Firmino, Everton, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus set to continue as a front four. Chelsea forward Willian is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench once again, along with Manchester City’s Fernandinho.
In the opposing dugout, Ricardo Gareca will also stick with an almost identical line-up to the one that started their semi-final victory over Chile. Convincing in that game, Paolo Guerrero leads the line and remains in the hunt to finish as the Copa America top scorer.
Brazil v Peru Preview and Predictions
After a clash for the ages that felt like a final, Brazil need to make sure they remain at their highest level to finish the job against Peru. The Selecao dismantled Los Incas earlier in the competition, but La Blanquirroja showed they’re a better side than that as they knocked out defending back-to-back champions Chile with a comfortable 3-0 victory in the semis.
There’s no denying the host nation are the huge favourites to get the win though. They’re packed with attacking talent and are a threat right across the pitch, while they haven’t conceded a single goal on their run to the final. Winning the tournament while maintaining that record would be an incredible achievement.
Brazil are 1/3 in the outright market, so it’s clear who the bookmakers think are going to win. Peru meanwhile are out at 12/1, which is a massive price for a two-horse race in a major final. Having said that, they don’t look like a horse worth backing.
With the Selecao so good at the back, Peru’s best chance of getting their hands on the Copa America for a third time, and first since 1975, looks like resting on their ability to keep a clean sheet. If they can shut the hosts out and force extra-time, then who knows? The draw after 90 minutes is 9/2, while Brazil are 1/7 to lift the trophy, with Peru 6/1 for the same bet.
Brazil to win to nil at 5/6
The Selecao are strong favourites to win the Copa America for the ninth time, and they are yet to concede a goal this summer.
0-0 draw at 10/1
Or back Peru to frustrate their hosts in a manner they were unable to do in the group stages, with the last two Copa America finals finishing goalless.