Many fans of South American football saw Brazil’s triumph in the 2019 Copa America as a sign that their rise back to the top of world football had begun. They have failed to win the FIFA World Cup since back in 2002 when they beat Germany in the final, and ever since then, we’ve all just been waiting for them to seize control of the state of play once more.
It took a while but the belief was that a 17-game unbeaten run in the wake of the 2018 FIFA World Cup proved once and for all that they were heading back to where many feel they belong. Then, upon beating Peru in the final of the Copa America earlier this year, the momentum grew even further.
Alas, as reported by BBC and Yahoo Sport, you can never get too comfortable in this game with the Peruvians gaining a measure of revenge over the Brazilians in the form of a 1-0 friendly win in the United States.
A big statement
Brazil just never really looked like they were at the races from the word go until the moment that the full time whistle blew, as Peru slowly but surely built their way into the encounter. Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Lucas Paqueta all failed to make the desired impact, with the one and only goal of the game coming from Luis Abram just a few minutes before the official end of regulation.
Fagner, who started the game ahead of Dani Alves, had the following to say after Brazil’s defeat.
“We know the strength of South American football. There is no poor team,” Fagner said. “We played a consistent game and created chances to score. We were penalised by a set-piece at the end of the game.
“We need to grow and mature as soon as possible with these types of games to improve for the World Cup qualifiers.
“These games have to make us grow as a team. We know the importance of winning, of working calmly towards victory. But we also know that defeats can happen. This has to make us grow.”
Marquinhos had similar comments to his teammate.
The blame game
“I think it was a very close game. We came from two good games against them and good results,” Marquinhos said. “We knew they would come for the result and they did what they had to do.
“The pitch didn’t help much. The ball bounced a lot. We tried to force passes through the middle, but both teams misplaced a lot. We knew it was a one-goal game and they were happy from set-pieces.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers aren’t actually all too far away for the South American nations, with the first two scheduled matchdays set to be played in March 2020. With the 2020 Copa America taking place not long after, it’s going to be an incredibly busy nine months or so for these countries.
For now, though, Peru can take confidence in knowing that they are able to mix it up with the big boys.