Brazil kick off their 2015 Copa America campaign with a tie against Peru on Sunday in a matchup that sees the Samba Boys overwhelming favourites. Brazil boast an excellent record against Los Incas – unbeaten in their last 14 meetings with eight wins and six draws. The last time these sides met was in April 2009, where Brazil were 3-0 victors.
Brazil have recovered brilliantly from last year’s humiliating World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany. In nine friendly matches since that tournament – under the leadership of Dunga for a second time following Luiz Felipe Scolari’s departure – the Selecao have been victorious in every one, beating the likes of Colombia, Argentina, France and the host nation Chile. Brazil have had a good history in the Copa America having won the tournament eight times (their last triumph in 2007) with six second place finishes. Dunga’s Brazil play an exciting flexible style of football, adept at pressing high up on the pitch and also sit deep if need be and catch teams on the counter with ruthless efficiency. They work extremely hard and have a boundless energy which is capable of overwhelming opponents. Further up the pitch, they are blessed with a talent littered assortment of options who boast pace and power in abundance, with these attributes allowing the Selecao to break with devastating efficiency. Neymar is the captain and leader of the team who acts both as playmaker and chief goal threat having scored 43 goals in 62 appearances, but the Selecao have a plethora of weapons in their attack. With defenders chasing Neymar around, Willian makes the most of spaces and will run defences ragged. He has a great burst of pace, quick feet, and very good agility, all of which allows him to breeze past opposition defenders. There are also many other dangerous players and huge scoring threats in this Brazil team with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Diego Tardelli who were both on the scoresheet in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Mexico last weekend.
Peru went all the way to claim a surprise third place finish in Argentina four years ago, but struggled in World Cup qualifying, finishing a full 10 points away from a spot in Brazil. Peru have since struggled for consistency in their friendly matches having lost five of their 11 matches played with five wins and a draw. Coach Ricardo Gareca only took up the post in February and lost his first match in charge, 1-0 to Venezuela in March before drawing 1-1 with Mexico in his side’s final warm up game that was played last weekend. For the Copa America, he has selected a squad led by experienced forward trio of Jefferson Farfan, Claudio Pizarro and Paolo Guerrero – who was the top scorer in the last Copa America tournament with five goals. Other interesting names in Peru’s squad are Eintracht Frankfurt’s defender Carlos Zambrano, Malmo’s left back Yoshimar Yotun and Fiorentina’s midfielder Juan Manuel Vargas – who had a remarkable season, helping his club qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Brazil are in a rich vein of form while Peru have struggled for consistency. The Selecao have a host of attacking stars at his disposal with the likes of Neymar, Willian and Coutinho leading a lethal team that is superior to Peru in all departments. Back the Samba Boys to oust their opponents from start to finish using the half-time/full-time win double at 6/10.