Friday, July 28, 2017

Brazil v Peru: Selecao hoping to banish World Cup demons

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Jun 2015

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After a humiliating end to their last major tournament, Brazil hope they can begin their Copa America challenge in much more positive fashion in their Group C opener against Peru.

On home soil last year, Brazil progressed to the semi-finals of the World Cup, before a 7-1 demolition at the hands of Germany in a match that will live long in the memory.

Brazil were then thumped 3-0 by Netherlands in the third/fourth-place play-off, and head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari soon departed.

He was replaced by Dunga – the 1994 World Cup-winner appointed for a second spell in charge – and since then, it has been smooth sailing.

In 10 friendlies under Dunga, Brazil have won on each occasion, conceding just two goals in the process.

Sunday’s clash in Temuco represents their first competitive fixture since their dismal end to the World Cup, and Dunga has said this week it is time to move on from the pain of 12 months ago.

The coach has a selection headache in attack, with Diego Tardelli and Roberto Firmino vying for a spot alongside talismanic captain Neymar.

Tardelli was on target in the 2-0 friendly win over Mexico last week, while Firmino netted the only goal against Honduras on Wednesday.

“If a player closes the eye, the other comes in and takes over. That is the Selecao,” said Dunga.

Goalkeeper Jefferson, meanwhile, believes Brazil’s friendly wins count for little heading into the competitive action in Chile.

“The real kick-off is now,” he said. “There are many national teams in transition, such as Argentina and Uruguay.

“It will be good for us to continue to grow in the competition which will certainly be a good preparation for the 2018 World Cup [qualifiers].”

Eight-time winners of this tournament in all its guises, Brazil only reached the quarter-finals in 2011, while Peru finished third – overcoming Venezuela in a play-off after defeat in the last four to eventual champions Uruguay.

Paolo Guerrero finished top scorer with five goals that year, but he is an injury doubt for this clash with an ankle problem, meaning veteran Bayern Munich forward Claudio Pizarro could be in line to start for Ricardo Gareca’s men.

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