The 2019 Copa America group stage enters its most important phase, with the next three days deciding the fate of all 12 teams and setting up the four quarterfinal matchups for next week. Saturday will see the final two games of Group A, with the two leaders facing off to see who finishes first.
Brazil and Peru both have four points, but the mood around each nation is completely different. Peru played well in both games and were unlucky not to beat Venezuela with two goals disallowed by VAR; then they came from behind to beat Bolivia in the second game with a very entertaining attack led by former Bundesliga stars Paolo Guerrero and Jefferson Farfán.
The Seleção, on the other hand, has really disappointed in both their matches. The three-goal win over a bad Bolivia side was pragmatic and boring, and the goalless draw against Venezuela exposed the attacking issues of Tite’s side even though Brazil had three goals called off by the refereeing crew. They just haven’t played well so far, and that is the primary goal of Saturday’s game.
Brazil must play good football. They will face a team that isn’t parking the bus and is going to want the ball as well, so there will be spaces for the quickness and skill of the Brazilian forwards. Barcelona stars Arthur and (especially) Philippe Coutinho also need to step up, and those two have to be key contributors if the hosts will have a real shot at winning the tournament.
It will take a miracle for Brazil not to reach the next round, they’ll probably be too good for Peru and will finish first. But results don’t matter right now. It’s about playing good football, and they are obligated to do that on Saturday and the rest of the Copa.
Day 8 Results
Ecuador 1-2 Chile
Goals: Fuenzalida (8’), E. Valencia (26’), Alexis Sánchez (51’)
Goal of the Day
Ecuador vs Chile was just terrible, but Alexis Sánchez gave us one glimpse of brilliance with his beautiful finish to win the game:
Day 9 Schedule
Peru vs Brazil (9pm CET)
Bolivia vs Venezuela (9pm CET)