The Selecao made it through to the semi-finals by beating fellow South American heavyweights Argentina in controversial fashion. Peru shocked the tournament by mauling Copa America holders Chile 3-0 in their last four clash.
However, the defeat of the holders was not the first surprise Peru had sprung, as Ricardo Gareca’s side also eliminated much-fancied Uruguay in the quarter-finals. They have certainly looked like a dangerous opponent for most teams they have faced in Brazil so far this summer. Brazil have not really thrived in many games, despite their progress to the final of the competition.
The Selecao are big favourites to end their run of 12 years without a Copa America triumph. The omens and history are on the host’s side, as they have won the trophy on all four occasions that they have hosted the competition.
Tough for Peru
The fact Tite’s team have already hammered Peru 5-0 in the group stages, which was arguably their best display in the competition, will also favour the home side. Peru will be determined to avenge that defeat, but there are question marks over their ability to match the quality of the home side, even after their victories over some very good teams at this competition.
The Incas will have to do what no team has done yet at Copa America 2019, and score past Brazil if they are to claim a victory in 90 minutes. If they take the Selecao to a penalty shootout it could go either way, though.
In short, it will be a major surprise if Brazil does not claim victory in Sunday’s final. However, as Peru have already proven the hosts can take nothing for granted and it should be a fascinating final.
Argentina finish third-place after Messi controversy
Argentina finished the competition third-place after a 2-1 win over Chile. However, the game was overshadowed by the dismissal of Lionel Messi late in the first half after an altercation with Chile midfielder Guy Medel.
Argentina were two goals ahead by the 22nd minute, as strikers Sergio Aguero and Paolo Dybala found the target for Lionel Scaloni’s team. With the La Albiceleste well in control of the game, Messi launched a tough tackle on Medel on 37 minutes, the sort of tackle that the former Cardiff midfielder is accustomed to dishing out himself.
However, Medel took exception to the challenge and the pair went chest to chest. The Chilean player appeared to push his head towards the Barcelona star. The referee decided to dismiss both players for the incident, much to the bemusement of the Argentina bench. Messi himself has stated that a yellow card for each player would have been sufficient. However, he claimed that his comments about poor officiating after the semi-final against Brazil led to the dismissal.
Argentina boss Scaloni also struggled to understand why Messi saw red too. It was only the second red card of his career, both of which have come for his country. Chile scored got a goal back from the penalty spot through Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal in the second period. However, it was only a consolation goal for the holders.
Did Lionel Messi deserve his sending off against Chile?