Brazil v Peru: Casemiro wants another thrashing – but doesn't expect one
Casemiro would love Brazil to thrash Peru again in Sunday's Copa America final – but admits it is almost certain not to happen.
The Real Madrid midfielder opened the scoring at Arena Corinthians as Tite's side demolished Peru in their final group game of this year's tournament.
The victory was Brazil's 31st in 44 meetings with Peru in all competitions and extended their record against them on home soil to 13 wins in 17. Indeed, Ricardo Gareca's side have not even managed a goal in their most recent four away games against the Selecao.
That said, Peru were the last team to defeat Brazil in the Copa America in their own country, way back in the semi-finals of 1975, when they prevailed 3-1.
And Casemiro, a winner of two trophies with the Brazil Under-20s but yet to find success with the senior team, is eager not to underestimate their opponents, who defeated Chile 3-0 in the last four.
"I've played in other finals; I think it's the first with Brazil," he said, as per Globoesporte. "Finals aren't played – finals are won. And we're working towards a win, although with a lot of respect towards our opponents.
"They knocked out two big teams, Uruguay and Chile – we can't forget that. They have the respect of all of us players.
"We shouldn't expect a thrashing. I hope it's like that, but we know it won't be."
Peru's Chamber of Tourism expects 30,000 people to travel for the final in Rio de Janeiro, even though only 5,000 are expected inside the Maracana.
Big screens will also televise the game back at home as Peru go in search of their first continental triumph since 1975, which was also the last time they reached this stage.
Edison Flores is expected to be fully fit after an injury scare but it is Paolo Guerrero who it will be hoped can lead his side to glory on what will represent his 100th cap.
"I respect Brazil very much. I'm happy to face a final against Brazil, a country for which I have a lot of respect," he told Sport TV.
"They'll give all their effort for the cup, so it'll be a very difficult, very tough game."
13 - Paolo Guerrero overtook Eduardo Vargas as the current active player with the most goals scored in Copa America tournaments (13), and is now the joint-third all-time top scorer in the competition, level with other five players. Legendary. #CopaAmericapic.twitter.com/nmIKVHgtwO— OptaJavier (@OptaJavier) July 4, 2019
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brazil – Roberto Firmino
The Liverpool striker has had a hand in more goals (five) than any other player at the Copa America. Given he got a goal and an assist in the previous meeting with Peru, he will have every reason to feel confident ahead of the final.
Peru – Paolo Guerrero
Captain and soon-to-be centurion of the Peru national team, Guerrero will be a rallying point for his team when under pressure and will need to make the most of whatever scoring opportunities come his way. It should be quite the occasion for the 35-year-old.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Three of Peru's four wins against Brazil in all competitions have come in Copa America tournaments: 1-0 in 1953, 3-1 in 1975 and 1-0 in 2016.
- Brazil have won the Copa America on each of the previous four occasions they have hosted the tournament (1919, 1922, 1949 and 1989); they will be looking to lift the trophy for the ninth time, after winning four of the previous eight Copa America tournaments (1997, 1999, 2004 and 2007).
- Peru are the eighth CONMEBOL nation to reach the Copa America final with the current competition format (since 1993); only Venezuela and Ecuador have not managed to reach this stage since then.
- Brazil and Peru will play the first Copa America final in which both teams have kept a clean sheet in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals; indeed, Brazil are yet to concede a goal in this year's tournament.
- Brazil have the highest possession average (66.5 per cent) and passing accuracy (88.8 per cent) in the 2019 Copa America; they also have the most shots attempted (88) and on target (26), and they have faced the joint fewest shots on target (7, level with Uruguay) in this year's tournament.
- If Paolo Guerrero plays against Brazil, he will earn his 25th Copa America cap, the joint most for a Peruvian player in the competition, level with Cornelio Heredia.