COPA AMERICA 2021: BRAZIL VS PERU, THREE KEY MATCHUPS THAT WILL DECIDE THE FATE OF THE SEMI-FINAL

With the quarterfinals done and dusted, moves into its semi-finals, starting off with a clash between the underdogs and on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

 

 

Brazil, the pre-tournament favourites, have been flawless in the whole campaign and have reached the last four without losing in the group stage and the quarterfinals. Their 1-0 win over Chile on Friday showed a sense of grit and determination as they held their fort with 10 men for more than 40 minutes after Gabriel Jesus had been sent off in the 48th minute.

Peru, on the other hand, have been the surprise package in this edition of the Copa America and have come back strongly after their 4-0 drubbing in the hands of Brazil in their opening group stage. Since then the Blanquirroja have gone unbeaten in the group stages and defeated a spirited Paraguay side on penalties to reach the semi-finals.

 

 

And although the Selecao go into the tie as the favourites, the match will be a tight affair and we, at FootTheBall, have compiled three key individual matchups which can significantly impact the outcome of the game on Monday.

 

GIANLUCA LAPADULA VS THIAGO SILVA

The man in form for Peru, Gianluca Lapadula, who has repaid his manager’s faith in picking him over veteran Paolo Guerrero, will be key for his side’s goals, given the suspension of Andre Carrillo and the patchy form of the other attackers.

 

 

He might look like a diminutive striker, but Lapadula offers more in the build-up and him dropping off between the lines is set to test the Brazilian defence, especially their leader at the back, Thiago Silva.

Silva and his defence tackled Peru’s talisman well in the group stage game between the two sides, but Lapadula will be aware of that and will have improved before the semi-final on Monday.

 

 

Even the captain of Brazil will be aware of that and if he can manage to keep Lapadula quiet with tight marking and proactiveness, he and his side can take the sting out of Peru’s attacks, and give the Selecao an advantage.

 

LUCAS PAQUETA VS YOSHIMAR YOTUN

After scoring the winning goal against Chile and sending Brazil into the semi-final, Lucas Paqeuta’s confidence will be sky-high and with Gabriel Jesus suspended for Monday’s fixture after receiving a red card, the Lyon forward is certain to start against Peru and will hope to help his nation reach the final.

 

 

And in Peru’s case, the responsibility to stop Paqueta will be on their ever-present Yoshimar Yotun. The defensive midfielder, who is the most experienced player in this Copa America squad has been a rock along with Renato Tapia in the middle of the park and will have to be at his very best to stop the creative Brazilian.

 

peru-yotunYotun in action for Peru. (Image Courtesy: RFF / Website)

 

Although his primary goal will be to stop Paqueta, Yotun must not dispose of off his talent in terms of passing as his ability to break the lines with his pinpoint passes is one of the key aspects of Ricardo Gareca’s system with this Peru side.

 

ROBERTO FIRMINO VS ANDERSON SANTAMARIA

After getting his first start in the final group game against Ecuador, Roberto Firmino kept his place for the quarterfinal against Chile and although he could not have the required impact against La Roja, his movement and his ability to play in multiple positions might as well make Tite start him against Peru in the semi-final as he can become a nuisance for the opposition defenders with his skills and movement.

 

 

Having scored in the 2-1 win against Colombia, Firmino has a goal under his belt which will certainly give him some confidence going into Monday.

And in order to stop the Liverpool forward from having an impact on the game, Anderson Santamaria, along with his fellow defenders, must give their 100 percent in tackling Firmino and will have to use all his experience to not getting conned by the Brazilian’s movements in and around the penalty area.

 

peru-santamariaSantamaria must be at his very best in the game against Brazil. (Image Courtesy: RFF / Website)

 

While he will be the favourites to win the aerial duels against Firmino, Santamaria will need to work extra hard to keep the ball out of Firmino’s reach.

The semifinals of the Copa America are bound to be filled with excitement and action. It is all up to the players now to take the game by the scruff of the neck and etch themselves in history.

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