THE final of the 2019 Copa America takes place in Rio on Sunday night as hosts Brazil take on Peru. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his betting thoughts.
Brazil v Peru | Sunday 7th July 2019, 21:00 | Premier Sports
The final two in this year’s Copa America comprises of a 5/4 ante-post favourite against a superbly overachieving 25/1 poke. Fair play to Peru for overcoming the odds to get this far, and congratulations to those who got on @MarkOHaire’s excellent recommendation of Peru to reach the final at 9/1 pre-tournament.
But do Los Incas deserve to be playing in the penultimate fixture? They’ve sure been helped by the fact that the format of the tournament is rather forgiving; but they have also arguably been one of the best defensive sides in the competition – not something I’d have envisaged a month ago.
It’s a good defensive record against every side in the tournament apart from, yeah you guessed it, Brazil. These two of course met in the group stages and that game ended 5-0 to the hosts. With that shellacking fresh in the memory for Ricardo Gareca’s men it will be interesting to see if they alter their approach.
I do think it’s important not to have full focus on that fixture when looking at the betting for this. Peru were without key defender Carlos Zambrano – he has been one of the top three performers in the tournament for my money – even though he seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth since leaving Eintracht Frankfurt a few years ago.
Zambrano returns to a backline that is well shielded by holding midfielders Renato Tapia and Yoshimor Yotun in Gareca’s 4-2-3-1 formation that reverts to a 4-5-1 out of possession. Christian Cueva revels in a central attacking midfield role with the width coming from Edison Flores on one side and the electric Andre Carrillo on the other. The attack is spearheaded by reliable veteran and national team record-breaker Paolo Guerrero.
Peru were clinical in their surprise 3-0 victory over Chile in the Clasico del Pacifico last time out, scoring with all three shots on -arget. They actually conceded over double their amount of shots and still managed to keep their clean sheet – La Roja profligacy or strong Peru positional sense? I’d argue the latter. Chile didn’t manage a shot in the six-yard box and they couldn’t get in behind the stubborn Peru formation.
A major test
Gareca has proven himself as a savvy operator and I like how he’s prepared for the individual games. His side know what they are and they’re one of the few sides that came into the tournament with a settled squad and obvious starting XI. This will be a major test though and the 12/1 quotes on Los Incas reflect that.
On the face of it, Brazil have done absolutely nothing wrong so far. They’ve yet to concede, which is a mighty impressive feat, they also top all the major data metrics but there’s still a slight sense that nothing has been achieved yet. They were strong favourites coming into the 2019 edition and Peru look easier meat than some other potential finalists, but that only piles more pressure on the home nation.
Since Arthur has come in they have a good balance in the middle of the park with Casemiro and Coutinho in Tite’s 4-3-3. Gabriel Jesus played well on the right of the front three against Argentina and is likely to keep his place here, Ewerton was somewhat disappointing though and Richardson could have a sniff of coming back into the starting XI.
Brazil to get the job done
The Selecao actually rank as the third best side on the continent when it comes to major Copa honours so it will be a welcome victory should they get the job done here. I’d expect them to do so but I’m not expecting another cakewalk.
Finals are notoriously tighter due to the magnitude of the game and given Brazil take their time breaking teams down and Peru being stubborn as they are then I’m inclined to take the 149/50 (pretty much 3/1) on Brazil to win in 90 minutes with the game being all-square at the break.
The Samba Boys have seen three of their five games go into half-time with nothing to separate the sides. Peru are likely to continue with their deep block and challenge Brazil to unlock them.
With that in mind, I’ll also delve into the Player Shots market. Against a side with low block I’ll usually swerve the frontmen because they’ll rarely get chances in dangerous areas, instead I’ll browse the midfielders and the one that stands out is Phillipe Coutinho.
The former Liverpool man loves a pop from distance and has arguably been the best player for his country in this competition. SkyBet go 11/10 on him getting at least four shots off and I think that’s fair. These don’t necessarily have to be on target and with him averaging a healthy 3.40 shots per-game and how the game should pan out, I’d probably back that to even money.