Spotlight on Copa América 2019, the oldest continental football competition in the world. Carlos Molano follows the Brazilian event for The Cult of Calcio, providing match analysis and personal insight.
The hangover of the Third-Place Match had not passed yet when Brazil and Peru squared off at the Maracana for the Final of Copa America 2019. But Leo Messi’s controversial declarations after the game, with his accusations to CONMEBOL of being corrupted and controlled by Brazil, were eventually overshadowed by the Selecao’s 3-1 win in the last act to capture the continental trophy for the first time since 2007.
Both teams lined up their expected eleven on the pitch. For different reasons, you could feel the pressure on the player faces from both sides. Brazil were the host country and the clearest favorite to win the trophy.
The Blanquirroja, on the other hand, were playing in the Final for the first time in 44 years, and battling for the title against the home side at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro made them dream of repeating the Maracanazo – Brazil’s tragic loss to Uruguay in the World Cup 1950’s last match. The term went down to football history to indicate when an underdog beats the local and favorite team.
In the 1st minute already, Peru’s Christian Cueva tested Alisson Becker from a free kick. The Peruvians showed intensity and aggressiveness from the very start, knowing that that was the only way to beat the locals. Yoshimar Yotun risked much with a vicious tackle that could have earned him a quick red card.
But slowly, the Brazilians shook off the pressure and started to play their game. In the 14th minute, Gabriel Jesus concluded an individual progression with a beautiful cross in the box, finding Everton Soares completely alone and free to score the first one for the home side.
The Manchester City forward distinguished himself again 15 minutes later, this time for a tackle that earned him a yellow card – something that would cost him much later in the game.
Brazil kept on attacking and looking a second goal, which they almost found when Roberto Firmino missed the target with a header from a favorable position. But Peru were not going to give up their dream that easily: In the 40th minute, Thiago Silva touched the ball with his hand in the box. Referee Roberto Tobar conceded the penalty after checking the VAR, and Paolo Guerrero converted it with a perfect shot, confirming himself as one of the best players seen in the tournament.
The Selecao was not ready to go for a break on an even score. and after asphyxiating the Peruvian defense, Barcelona’s Arthur served Gabriel Jesus the chance for a perfect finish which sent the Brazilians to 2-1.
After the break, Brazil didn’t want to risk any surprise and continued attacking. Philippe Coutinho went close to score in the 50th minute, but his conversion from a cross missed the target by a few inches.
Three minutes later, Roberto Firmino was stopped by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on a one-on-one action. Peruvians from all over the world still believed the miracle could happen, even more when in the 70th minute Gabriel Jesus received a second yellow card with a controversial decision.
Peru started fighting on every ball, and Brazilian coach Tite was forced to make some defensive changes, pulling off midfielder Coutinho for Real Madrid’s new signing Eder Militao. But right when Brazil were suffering the most, they were awarded a penalty that sent the Peruvians in anger.
Substitute Richarlison buried the spot to set the score to 3-1 in the 90th minute, and the Copa America remained in Brazil. Nevertheless, few times I have seen a second place so deserved and so celebrated by a whole country. Peru have reasons to celebrate and welcome back their players as heroes.
On a personal note, it has been a pleasure to cover this amazing and passionate tournament for The Cult of Calcio. As we wait for the next one, I’d love to hear your thoughts about Copa América 2019.
How do you think the competition go? What are your opinions?
July 7, 2019 – CONMEBOL Copa America 2019 Final
SCORERS: 15′ Everton (B), 44′ Guerrero (P, pen.), 48′ Gabriel Jesus (B), 90′ Richarlison (B, pen.)
|BRAZIL (4-3-3): Alisson; Dani Alves, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro; Arthur, Casemiro, Coutinho (77′ Eder Militão); Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino (75′ Richarlison), Everton (Cassio, Ederson, Miranda, Filipe Luis, David Neres, Wilian, Fernandinho, Paquetá, Fagner) Coach: Tite|
|PERU (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Abram, Trauco; Tapia (82′ Gonzales), Yotun (78′ Ruidiaz); Carrillo (86′ Polo), Cueva, Flores; Guerrero (Caceda, Alvarez, Corzo, Santamaria, Araujo, Ballon, Pretell, Callens) Coach: Gareca|
REFEREE: Tobar (Chile)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Thiago Silva (B), Tapia, Zambrano, Advincula (P); Red Card: 70′ Gabriel Jesus (B)