Wednesday, October 23, 2019 | ePaper

Brazil banking on defense in Copa America final with Peru

  • Print
AFP, Rio De Janeiro :
Brazil will be looking to maintain their defensive invincibility against Peru in Sunday's Copa America final, midfielder Casemiro says.
The hosts have yet to concede a goal in the tournament, including when they thrashed Peru 5-0 in a group-stage match earlier in the competition.
And keeping their goal intact will be key to lifting a ninth Copa crown, according to the Real Madrid man.
"Ending the competition without conceding a goal is one of our aims," said Casemiro.
"And if we don't concede a goal, it's not just thanks to the guys at the back, those up front help us a lot and that makes the difference."
The woodwork also made a difference in Brazil's 2-0 semi-final victory over arch rivals Argentina, as did referee Roddy Zambrano's refusal to consult VAR twice when Lionel Messi and his team-mates were claiming a penalty.
Sergio Aguero headed against the bar in the first half and Messi rattled the post after the break, while Brazil captain Dani Alves and midfielder Arthur both got away with blatant off-the-ball fouls inside the area on Manchester City pair Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi respectively.
Argentina have complained to South American football's governing body CONMEBOL over the refereeing in that semi-final, although to no avail as the result will not be changed.
Brazil have identified the main threat to their defensive invincibility on Sunday at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium: Peru forward Paolo Guerrero.
He's a player well known to Brazilian fans having spent the last seven years playing in the country.
The 35-year-old scored the winning goal for Corinthians in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup final against Chelsea.
Currently playing for Internacional in Porto Alegre, he previously helped Corinthians win the Sao Paulo state championship in 2013 and Flamengo to do likewise in the Rio state championship four years later.
"He's a player who deserves special attention for everything he's done in the past," said center-back Marquinhos.
"I know him well, I played with him for a bit at Corinthians and I've played against him several times for the national team."
One of those was two weeks ago at the Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo when Guerrero was kept quiet while Peru when into a defensive meltdown.
They've bounced back spectacularly from that set-back, though, first ousting Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-final, in a match in which they were clearly second best, and then in a stunning performance to beat the outgoing champions Chile 3-0 in the last four.
"It'll be a great final, a really difficult match. We can't think it's already won, we have to play it," said Casemiro.
"They've eliminated great teams - Uruguay and Chile - we have to respect them."
It's only the second time Peru have reached the Copa final in its 103-year history.
They beat Colombia in a play-off in Caracas in 1975 after each side had won at home in a two-legged title decider.
And their first title in 1939 on home soil came at the end of a single five-team tournament played in a round-robin format.
"We've got to approach it calmly. It's true that we've achieved something very important after many years," said forward Raul Ruidiaz.
"We're aware and calm that there's one more step to glory.
"We need to play with our feet on the ground and give everything on the pitch to make it happen."
Brazil, in stark comparison, have won the Copa eight times and finished runners-up on a further 11 occasions, a record bettered only by Uruguay and Argentina.
From 1997 to 2007, Brazil won four out of five editions of the Copa, missing out only in 2001 when the Selecao turned up in Colombia without leading lights such as Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos -four crucial players in their World Cup success the next year.

More News For this Category

Brescia's Dimitri Bisoli (left) and Fiorentina's Franck Ribery in action during their Italian Serie A soccer match between Brescia and Fiorentina at the Mario Rigamonti stadium in Brescia, Italy on Monday.

Brescia's Dimitri Bisoli (left) and Fiorentina's Franck Ribery in action during their Italian Serie A soccer match between Brescia and Fiorentina at the Mario Rigamonti stadium in Brescia, Italy on Monday.

Rapinoe named but Modric, Neymar miss out on Ballon D'Or shortlist

Rapinoe named but Modric, Neymar miss out on Ballon D'Or shortlist

While Megan Rapinoe is the leading candidate for the second ever women's Ballon D'Or, the holder of the men's award, Luka Modric, and the world's most expensive player Neymar missed

'Gentle giant' Lukaku thriving at Inter Milan after Man United flop

'Gentle giant' Lukaku thriving at Inter Milan after Man United flop

AFP, Milan :Italian coach Antonio Conte has made his "gentle giant" Romelu Lukaku the focus of Inter Milan's attack this season where the striker has found his scoring touch again

Sheffield United beat Arsenal 1-0 in Premier League

Sheffield United beat Arsenal 1-0 in Premier League

AP, Sheffield :Arsenal slumped to a 1-0 loss at promoted Sheffield United on Monday in the Premier League, upping the pressure on coach Unai Emery after another performance void of

Beckham's stadium complex for Inter Miami taking shape

AP, Fort Lauderdale :Piles of steel sit at one end of the property, waited to be lifted into place. Workers were going in all directions, some pounding nails into wood,

Zidane shelves league intentions as Madrid shift focus to Europe

Zinedine Zidane said in April Real Madrid would prioritise La Liga over the Champions League this season and their defeat to Real Mallorca on Saturday suggests they may not have

Klopp rues VAR failure to rule out Man Utd goal as Liverpool held

Klopp rues VAR failure to rule out Man Utd goal as Liverpool held

Jurgen Klopp admitted he was frustrated by VAR's failure to rule out Marcus Rashford's goal as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Sunday, denying them

New-look Bayern out to prove Spurs drubbing was no fluke

New-look Bayern out to prove Spurs drubbing was no fluke

AFP, Berlin :Bayern Munich face Olympiakos away in the Champions League today with key defender Niklas Suele sidelined as Niko Kovac's side seek to prove their demolition of Tottenham was

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz (8) defends against Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair (12) during the second half of an NWSL playoffs semi-final soccer match in Bridgeview, Ill on Sunday.

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz (8) defends against Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair (12) during the second half of an NWSL playoffs semi-final soccer match in Bridgeview, Ill on Sunday.

Two matches of Sheikh Kamal Football to be held today

After a recess, the 3rd edition of prestigious Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup Football tournament resume today with two group-B matches are billed for the day at MA Aziz Stadium