Preview: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America’s unlikely final

Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

To say Brazil will be a heavy favorite when the 2019 Copa American final kicks off on Sunday (4 p.m. ET) would be a massive understatement.

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Not only are the eight-time South American champions the host nation, and not only are they yet to concede a goal in this tournament, but they also beat the side they’re set to face in the final, Peru, 5-0 during group play. On paper, it’s a virtual lock that TIte’s side will lift the trophy inside the famed Maracana stadium.

Peru has more than earned its place in the final, though, by surviving a tough group featuring Brazil and Venezuela, outlasting Uruguay over 120 minutes and penalty kicks in the quarterfinals, then running roughshod over the two-time defending champions from Chile in the semifinals.

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Brazil have managed quite well since Neymar (ankle) was forced out of the team just before the start of the tournament. Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino fired the Selecao past Argentina in the semifinals, scoring a goal each, and appear to be thriving with more being asked of them.

Brazil hasn’t won the Copa America since 2007 — three tournaments — which is quite the barren stretch by their own lofty standards. Peru, on the other hand, last triumphed as the kings of South America in 1975, the first tournament of the Copa America era.