Copa America 2019 Final: Brazil vs Peru – 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Brazil edged past a spirited Peru side 3-1 at the Maracana Stadium in the final of the 2019 Copa America. The victory meant that the Brazilians ended their 12-year wait for a major honour with their last triumph also being the Copa America success at home in 2007.
The game was a scrappy affair and chances were at a premium. However, the hosts took the lead with the first real opening in the 15th minute when Everton smashed home from inside the box.
Though Brazil kept applying the pressure thereafter, it was the Peruvians who got the match’s next goal in the 44th minute. A shot struck Thiago Silva’s arm and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Paulo Guerrero made no mistake and sent Alisson the wrong way to restore parity.
Yet, the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Gabriel Jesus bulged the net on the stroke of half-time. The evening soon turned sour for the Manchester City striker when he was given his marching orders in the 70th minute. However, his Premier League compatriot, Richarlison, ensured Brazil got over the finish line with a penalty of his own in the 90th minute.
Here is a look at the talking points from the game:
#5 Arthur Melo runs the show in midfield
The Brazilians came into the tournament boasting of an embarrassment of riches in the central midfield area. The hosts’ options comprised of Allan, Arthur, Casemiro and Fernandinho.
Thus, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if any of those was preferred over the others. However, as the competition progressed, it became clear that Arthur Melo was the go-to man for Tite. And boy did he rise to the occasion on Sunday.
The Barcelona midfielder started alongside Casemiro and pulled the strings for the hosts. His exemplary awareness and vision allowed him to dictate the tempo of the game. In turn, that enabled Brazil to keep Peru at bay for large periods of the match.
On numerous occasions, the midfielder asked for the ball in tight areas and wriggled his way out of trouble superbly. However, the more impressive aspect of his display was that he didn’t shirk away from responsibility on the big stage.
The above directly led to the hosts’ second goal as Arthur picked up the ball in midfield, strode purposefully towards the Peruvian goal and then played an inch-perfect pass for Jesus to finish.
Through the course of the 2018-19 season, the diminutive midfielder established himself as a crucial cog in Barcelona’s wheel and he even drew comparisons with the legendary Xavi Hernandez.
Yet, one always felt that the truest test of his character would come with Brazil at the Copa America. And now that he’s passed that examination with flying colours, not many would be doubting Arthur’s astronomical potential.