What's the story?
Brazil are set to face Peru in tomorrow's Copa America final, to be held at the famous Maracana stadium in Rio da Janeiro. Perhaps no player has been as vital to Tite's side reaching their first Copa America final since 2007 than Real Madrid's midfield enforcer Casemiro.
In fact, the Brazil side under Tite has never lost with Casemiro in the playing XI, a record that shows just how vital he is to the Selecao.
In case you didn't know...
After having come through the ranks at the academy of the famous Sao Paulo club in Brazil, Casemiro was noticed by Real Madrid as a 21-year-old. Los Blancos signed him up in 2013 and the 27-year-old went on to become an integral part of the Madrid side, winning a stunning four Champions League titles.
Casemiro made his international debut for Brazil in 2011, as a 19-year-old, in a 0–0 draw against Argentina. He has gone on to win 40 caps with the Selecao, losing just two of the matches he has played in and winning a jaw-dropping 31 games.
The heart of the matter
Under their current manager Tite, Brazil have lost just 2 matches out of 41 played, both of them without their star midfield dynamo Casemiro. While the Real Madrid star was injured for the Selecao's 1-0 loss to Argentina in a friendly in June 2017, suspension due to a yellow card he picked up in the Round of 16 meant Casemiro missed the 2018 World Cup quarterfinal, where Brazil went down 2-1 to Belgium.
The 27-year-old was again suspended for Brazil's Copa America 2019 quarterfinal against Paraguay and the Selecao understandably struggled, scraping through 4-3 in the penalty shootout after the game ended 0-0 in regular time. Casemiro came back strongly in the semi-final against Argentina, ably marking Lionel Messi to ensure Brazil's progression into the final.
The Los Blancos midfielder has incredible stats so far in the tournament, with 4.5 aerials won, 1.3 tackles and 3.3 interceptions per game, also registering a 83% pass completion rate.
The Copa America final between Brazil and Peru will kickoff on Monday, 01:30 AM IST.