Brazil thumped Peru 5-0 to reach the Copa America quarter-finals by topping Group A.
The tournament hosts were far too good for Ricardo Gareca’s side at Arena Corinthians on Saturday, scoring three goals in the first half and extending their run of Copa clean sheets.
Casemiro’s first Brazil goal opened the scoring and Roberto Firmino quickly made it 2-0, with Everton’s superb drive adding to the Selecao’s lead before the break. Captain Dani Alves and Willian scored fine goals after the interval before Gabriel Jesus saw a late penalty saved.
The next opponents for Tite’s side will be set when Groups B and C conclude, while Peru must wait for other results to see if finishing third behind Venezuela is enough to see them through.
Brazil bundled in an untidy opening goal in the 12th minute when Peru failed to defend a Philippe Coutinho corner from the left wing.
Marquinhos somehow headed against the inside of the post from point-blank range and was fortunate the ball bounced up perfectly for Casemiro to make sure, with Brazil soon doubling their lead with a similarly strange goal.
Firmino charged down a clearance from goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and appeared to celebrate prematurely before the ball rebounded off the post, but the Liverpool forward recovered his composure to round the goalkeeper and slot into the open goal with a trademark no-look finish.
Everton, who impressed off the bench in Brazil’s first two games, made it 3-0 before the break with a drilled 20-yard finish after cutting in off the left wing.
Brazil hit top gear with a brilliant fourth goal in the 53rd minute. Barcelona midfielder Arthur was heavily involved in the build-up before Alves swapped passes with Firmino and smashed his finish home.
Coutinho’s fine performance was rewarded with warm applause when he was substituted in the closing stages, his replacement Willian curling in an unstoppable fifth.
And Gallese salvaged some pride in added time by denying Jesus from the penalty spot after bringing down the Brazil forward.
What does it mean? Brazil recapture rhythm at last
After toiling in their opening two Copa matches Tite’s side found fluency, albeit against a poor Peru outfit few would have guessed had taken four points from their Copa campaign.
The Selecao – brushing off pre-match accusations Tite had spied on Peru training with a drone – looked more balanced and clinical in the final third, which bodes well for the last eight.
Everton proves a worthy Neymar deputy
With an injured ankle keeping Brazil’s star man out of the tournament, Gremio winger Everton showed why he is being linked with a move to the Premier League ahead of the new season. His second goal of this year’s Copa America took advantage of Gallese’s poor positioning.
Gallese errors decisive for Peru
Despite conceding a soft opener, Peru were still in the game before Gallese dallied on the ball and hit his clearance into Firmino. The goalkeeper then looked to be beaten far too easily at his near post by Everton for Brazil’s third.
Key Opta facts
– Brazil have lost just one of their last 19 meetings with Peru in all competitions (W12 D6), with that loss coming in the 2016 Copa America (0-1).
– Brazil have kept a clean sheet in each of their last nine Copa America home games (W6 D3) – they last conceded at home in this competition against Venezuela, in 1989.
– Brazil scored eight goals in the 2019 Copa America group stage, their most in this stage in the 21st century.
– Brazil have defeated a CONMEBOL nation by 5+ goals in a Copa America game for the first time since the 2007 quarter-finals (6-1 v Chile).
– Aged 36 years and 47 days, Dani Alves became the oldest Brazilian player to score in a Copa America game of, at least, the last 96 years.
– Everton scored his second goal in the 2019 Copa America, both from outside the box; only Chile’s Eduardo Vargas has scored as many goals from long range in this tournament.
Brazil will be back in action on Thursday against an opponent yet to be determined. Peru’s fate lies out of their hands and will depend on how Groups B and C finish in the coming days.
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