The 2019 Copa America saw on Saturday the end of Group A, and hosts Brazil punched their ticket to the quarterfinals and clinched first place with a phenomenal 5-0 win over Peru in São Paulo. The Seleção was breathtaking at times and played the most complete game of anyone in the tournament, and Barcelona stars Philippe Coutinho and Arthur had their contributions as well: Coutinho with an assist and a very good overall game, and Arthur with one of the best midfield performances in recent Brazilian national team history. Seriously, he was that good.
The urgency and importance of the game was clear from the beginning, with both teams looking very intense. There were tons of fouls and arguments, but that didn’t hurt the pace and quality of the match which made it really fun from the start.
Brazil started a little slowly but the opening goal scored by Casemiro on a header from a corner absolutely transformed them into a destruction machine. Their passing was quick and smart, their movement without the ball was constant, they pressed high up the pitch and they just didn’t let Peru breathe.
And they also scored more goals: first Roberto Firmino got his on a bizarre play when Peru goalkeeper Gallese tried to clear the ball but it hit Firmino, then the post, and then it came back to Bobby who sat the keeper and doubled the lead. Then Everton scored a rocket into the bottom corner from the left wing to give Brazil a three-goal advantage that they deserved.
At halftime, a fabulous Brazilian performance was rewarded with three goals and the victory. Would they try to extend the score and continue the party in the second half?
Brazil stayed hungry for more and continued to press and create chances, with the front three constantly moving and finding spaces for each other. Peru looked helpless, and things got worse for them when Dani Alves made a one-two with Arthur and then with Firmino before scoring a sensational fourth goal for Brazil.
Peru desperately needed to stop conceding goals so they could stay alive in the fight for qualification, so manager Ricardo Gareca made a few defensive substitutions to stop the bleeding and slow down the Brazilian attack. The plan worked for the Bicolor as the Seleção dropped their intensity as well, and as we entered the last 15 minutes the score was still 4-0 in favor of the home team.
It seemed like that’s how it would end, but Willian scored a golazo with a rocket of his own into the top corner, Coutinho-style which was followed by a Gabriel Jesus penalty miss in added time, and the game ended with a 5-0 scoreline that doesn’t really show just how good Brazil were in this one.
This was a spectacular response to the two bad performances in the previous games, and the Seleção now moves on to the knockouts with sky-high confidence.
Peru: Gallese; Advíncula, Araujo, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotún (Flores); Polo, Farfán, Cueva (Ballón); Guerrero (González)
Brazil: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Luís (Sandro); Arthur, Casemiro (Allan), Coutinho (Willian); Jesus, Firmino, Everton
Goals: Casemiro (12’), Firmino (19’), Everton (32’), Alves (53’), Willian (90’)