Peru – Brazil: Brazil Slaughter Peru With New Winger Duo (0-5)

Peru struggled to cope against a well-structured and totally superior Brazil team, who cemented their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa América. Brazil picked Peru apart, effectively gaining possession back in great areas, as well as pulling their opponents out of shape thanks to constant switches and vertical passing.

Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.

In terms of results, Brazil and Peru shared similarities, both drawing 0-0 against Venezuela whilst hitting three past Bolivia. In terms of expectations, there is quite a difference. Although well-respected amongst neutrals for their attractive way of playing, Peru are not expected to be making major upsets. Experienced attackers Paolo Guerrero and Jefferson Farfán played a huge part in their comeback against Bolivia, yet challenging Marquinhos and Thiago Silva is a challenge in a whole different spectrum.

Brazil, meanwhile, are always anticipated to go far… even more so when the competition is held in their own country. Manager Tite has brought the next generation of Brazilian stars with him, Richarlison, David Neres and more household names like Arthur and Gabriel Jesus all getting significant game time throughout the competition. Dominating Bolivia got the ball rolling, but a frustrating draw to Venezuela resulted in the team being booed off the pitch.

A Venezuela victory over Bolivia would see the team losing this match potentially being kicked out of the competition, meaning there was plenty of pressure to perform on both sides.

Ricardo Gareca continued to line his Peru side up in a 4-2-3-1 shape. His only change was replacing the injured center-back Carlos Zambrano with Miguel Araujo. Tite also made no surprise changes to his Brazilian team in terms of formation, sticking his side in the 4-2-3-1 system. The only two changes would be on both wings, David Neres and Richarlison being replaced by Everton and Gabriel Jesus for their first starts in the Copa América so far.

Scrappy opener breaks a cagey start

Peru and Brazil set up very similar to what we have seen from both sides in this tournament. Ricardo Gareca’s team evolve around being as expansive as possible when they have the ball, whilst being compact when they do not have possession. When off the ball, Peru transitioned into a 4-4-1-1 medium block, A medium block refers to a team that retreats in their own half out of possession, generally only disrupting their opponents some way into their own half. more focused on keeping the shape rather than form a pressing system.

Brazil and Peru in very similar shapes to what we’ve seen in this tournament.

Both teams struggled to settle into the game during the opening minutes. A number of misplaced passes and aggressive tackles were exchanged between both teams, as Peru and Brazil looked surprisingly nervous. A scrappy goal broke the tension. Philippe Coutinho’s inswinging corner was flicked on from the front post, before being bundled in by Casemiro.

Brazil stuck to their 4-2-3-1 asymmetric shape as seen in there previous 0-0 draw to Venezuela, with a slight tactical twist. Gabriel Jesus would often sit on the same horizontal line as Roberto Firmino, who performed a much more advanced role instead of dropping deeper. Moving Jesus higher up the pitch not only added another striker into the box, but also gave Dani Alves much more space down the right channel. On the left, things were more traditional, with an out-an-out winger in Everton and Luís filling in the spot of left back.

Brazil begin to break down Peru

Peru’s dissection was performed in several ways. Brazil would form a well-organized and structured press onto the defense as Peru attempted to play from the back. The front four would hunt in a pack, often keeping their shape when moving but targeting multiple passing lanes for the defender. Coutinho’s positioning was very important in these sequences, often roaming between the flanks (based on where the ball was), which would stop Araujo or Luis Abram having access to progress the ball to Peru’s double pivot of Renato Tapia or Yoshimar Yotún.

As Peru moved the ball from one flank to the opposite, Brazil often moved to that channel keeping their shape. Their defensive structure was to bait Peru into wide channels before overloading When one team has more players in a certain area or zone than the other team. that flank. Brazil were imperious at isolating the opposition, creating as many two-versus-one scenarios as possible.

Their press was notably highlighted in their bizarre second goal… one that makes awful viewing for Pedro Gallese. The goalkeeper stalled for far too long with the ball at his feet, a boot forward deflecting off Roberto Firmino, onto the post, back to Firmino, before passing the ball into an open goal. Not the greatest goal ever mentioned on Between the Posts, but certainly one that words do not do justice.

On the ball, Brazil were sublime at breaking lines and progressing the ball forward. Most of their access into the final third was built from the left flank, Filipe Luis allowed to run into the halfspace If you divide the field in five vertical lanes, the halfspaces are the lanes that are not on the wing and not in the center. Because there is no touchline like on the wing, players have freedom to go everywhere. But this zone often is not as well-defended as the very center. This makes it a very valuable offensive zone to play in and a lot of chances are created by passes or dribbles from the halfspace. and make passes into central positions thanks to Everton’s positioning, virtually on the touch line. A big part of Brazil’s movement in this area was thanks to the overloading on the right to isolate the left.

Brazil excellent at overloading the flanks off in their press.

Dani Alves often looked to make the switch out to the opposite flank and vice-versa. Peru could not handle the constant switches of play, often leaving players out of position and the team out of shape. Both Arhur and Casemiro could easily make forward passes, because Peru were often caught out of shape.

Once in the final third, Brazil used vertical passing to get into dangerous areas of the pitch. Using this style of passing made it very easy for Brazil to break the midfield line and feed Coutinho and Everton in great positions, with Firmino and Gabriel Jesus prowling the box.

Peru add another midfielder to try and soften the blow

After watching his team concede four goals, Ricardo Gareca finally decided that his team should do some defending. Peru made two changes at the start of the second half, Yotún and Paolo Guerreruo being replaced by Edison Flores and Christofer Gonzáles.

This resulted in Peru changing their shape into a 4-1-4-1 defensive block, surrendering possession in the process. Having the extra man in midfield did have some benefit, stopping Brazil from entering the final third with as much ease as they did in the game’s earlier events. Of course, you do sacrifice an attacking player in the most valuable zone of the field when transitioning from defense to attack with that move.   

The game subsequently turned into a Brazil training session, Peru not even trying to build any sort of attacking sequences, whilst Brazil were more than happy to just keep the ball. Substitute Willian’s superb goal from range was the icing on the cake on a half that had gone stale, Brazil flexing their muscles ahead of the Copa América quarter-finals.


A bitterly disappointing performance from Peru, who had impressed up to this point in the tournament. After the first goal, any sort of defensive structure was non-existent. Confidence was clearly shattered after a calamitous second goal, not even Gallese’s penalty save in the last minute of the game was enough to give him some credit. Peru were poor, and as a result, will have to rely on results from the other groups to have a chance of qualifying.

Brazil certainly showcased elements of why they are favorites for this year’s Copa América. A unique shape, midfielders who can play the ball forward with ease, as well as authoritative defending, makes them a force not to be messed with. The five goals may have been a bit flattering, but Brazil were head and shoulders above Peru. The winner of the third place from Groups B and C awaits, a position Brazilian fans expected to be before the tournament.

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Joel Parker (21) is an Everton fan. Whenever he’s not watching his beloved Everton, Joel spends his time analyzing all sorts of football. Chief editor and Founder of Toffee Analysis. [ View all posts ]


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