vs. Location: Estádio do Maracanã (Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho), Rio de Janeiro Brazil roster: Goleiros Alisson (Roma-ITA) Cássio (Corinthians) Ederson (Manchester City-ING) Laterais Daniel Alves (PSG-FRA) Filipe Luís (Atlético de Madri-ESP) Alex Sandro (Juventus-ITA) Fágner (Corinthians) Zagueiros Miranda (Inter de Milão-ITA) Marquinhos (PSG-FRA) Thiago Silva (PSG-FRA) Éder Militão (Porto-POR) Meio-campistas Arthur (Grêmio) Allan (Napoli-ITA) Lucas Paquetá (Milan-ITA) Casemiro (Real Madrid-ESP) Fernandinho (Manchester City-ING) Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool-ING) Willian (Chelsea-ING) Atacantes Richarlison (PSG-FRA) Roberto Firmino (Liverpool-ING) Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City-ING) David Neres (Ajax-HOL) Everton (Grêmio) Facing all the hype and expectation as Brazil faced archnemesis Argentina in a cup knockout bracket for the first time since 2007, Brazilian fans rejoiced as their team recovered from the goalless form of 2 of this Copa América’s 4 matches and killed the match in regulation with a score of 2-0. Now, Brazil leaves Belo Horizonte for the hallowed grounds of Maracanã, where Brazil has in the past secured World Cup qualification, attained Olympic golden glory, and won the Copa América, as Brazil seeks its 9th Copa América title (and first since 2007), as well as its first senior-level NT championship since the 2013 Confederations Cup, when also at the Maracanã, Brazil handily defeated defending European and World Cup champion Spain 3-0. This time, however, the opponent is not from UEFA, but rather, a neighbor – a South American rival – and one whom Brazil already faced and defeated in this tournament. Peru has 2 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses in the competition. After its 0-5 defeat against Brazil, many in Peru thought it was all over and some thought Peru wouldn’t even qualify as a third-place team. But the combination of results got Peru through to face powerhouse Uruguay, who was unbeaten in the group stage and who earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory against defending, back-to-back champion Chile. Peru managed to survive 0-0 and from the PK spot, Peru was perfect. Suárez missed his kick, thus sending Uruguay packing and Peru to the semifinals, where Peru surprisingly won a solid game against Chile by the score of 3-0. Brazil will not have an easy match. The 5-0 result came in part because Peru went forward in an attempt to play Brazil “mano a mano;” the open spaces this generated were exploited by Brazil. Peru had in fact been deployed with a sound tactical system early on; the first and second goals Brazil scored discouraged Peru. Ricardo Gareca’s men have however shown much better mettle since then; it’s no small feat to eliminate Uruguay and Chile in a few days’ time. With much higher confidence, and with lessons learned, the Peruvians will go for the upset in an unexpected but intriguing matchup. Brazil would be wise to pay attention to Advincula; this defensive player is extremely fast to the extent some call him the “Peruvian Bolt,” and he is only one of Peru’s highly athletic players. Should Peru win, it’d mark a historic achievement for a team which for decades was a minor player in South America. Peru’s 36-year-long absence from the World Cup ended last year, as the Peruvians had several good performances in WCQ. A 3rd title would follow 1939 and 1975, and further increase Gareca’s standing in Peru, giving the team morale and confidence for the 2020 Copa América and 2022 WCQ. For Brazil, a title victory would not only be the 9th Copa América title overall, but a huge dose of political capital for Tite, whose work – once nearly universally praised thanks to Brazil’s unstoppable WCQ campaign after Tite replaced Dunga – was severely criticized and questioned after his slowness to change the team cost Brazil vs. Belgium in last year’s World Cup quarterfinals. As well, the match itself will be meaningful to Tite as a manager, as he will coach Brazil in Maracanã for the first time. The following was the starting XI deployed by Ricardo Gareca for his team’s semifinal win vs. Chile: Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Abram and Trauco; Tapia, Yotún, Carrillo, Cueva and Flores; Guerrero.