As mentioned in our Copa América preview, few teams have ever been under as much pressure to win a home tournament as Brazil were at the start of the competition that marks the centenary of their first Copa América triumph. Brazil are yet to feel the pressure though and with a solid team based upon the foundations of a robust defence, they are one step away from achieving redemption for the humiliation they suffered the last time they hosted a tournament.
The Seleção had not made it beyond the quarter-finals in any of the past three Copa tournaments, even falling at the group stage three years ago. This led the team’s coach, Tite, to turn to experience in an effort to instil more defensive solidity into their general play than was evident at last year’s World Cup. Thus far, the choices have been rewarded and Brazil have progressed to the final with a perfect defensive record. Goalkeeper Allison Becker is currently in a run of outstanding form, having kept nine clean sheets in a row for both club and country.
Without Neymar Jr as a focal point, the Brazilian attacking effort has been a collaborative one, with Firmino, Coutinho and Everton each scoring two goals. While there were victories of 3-0 and 5-0 for Brazil in the Group stages, Brazil’s progress through the knockouts has been far from explosive. They required a penalty shootout to defeat Paraguay in the quarter-finals and their win against Argentina in the semi-finals was solely due to the performance of the referee if Lionel Messi is to be believed.
It’s safe to say that Peru were not expected to do much in this tournament. In the 2018 World Cup they failed to make it past the group stage and they entered the competition with an inexperienced squad – only five players in the squad having made appearances in the double figures. They also had a 35-year-old striker, in Paulo Guerrero, leading the line.
Despite all this, and despite a 5-0 thumping by Brazil in the group stage, Peru are in the final and hoping for their first Copa América triumph since 1975 and only the third in their history. Since being destroyed by Brazil, Peru seem to have sorted themselves out. They dispatched an experienced Uruguay side in the quarter-finals and dumped out Chile – the winners of the last two Copa’s – in the semis. They are also complete underdogs and under no pressure to triumph.
Brazil enter this fixture as overwhelming favourites to win at odds of 2/7. Peru are given very little chance of winning the final at 11/1.
There’s not a lot of value to be found in a Brazil win, given how heavily favoured they are, the previous encounter between the sides in the tournament and Brazil’s perfect defence.
We’d bet on that defence to come up trumps again and go for them to keep another clean sheet. So why not be on Brazil to win to nil at 19/25.
*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.