With the quarterfinals done and dusted off, the 2021 Copa América advances to its semifinals, beginning with a clash between the losers of Peru and Brazil on Monday in Rio de Janeiro.
🙌⚽️ WE HAVE TWO SEMIFINALISTS!
– Copa América (@CopaAmerica) July 3, 2021
Pre-tournament favorites Brazil have been flawless throughout the campaign and have reached the quarter-finals without losing in the group stage and quarter-finals. Their 1-0 victory over Chile on Friday showed a sense of courage and determination as they maintained their strength with 10 men for more than 40 minutes after Gabriel Jesús was sent off in 48th minute.
Peru, meanwhile, has been the surprise package in this edition of the Copa América and has come back strong after beating 4-0 against Brazil in their first group stage. Since then, Blanquirroja have been undefeated in the group stage, defeating an energetic team from Paraguay on penalties to reach the semi-finals.
ONE SEMIS! 🔴⚪️🔴
– Peruvian Selection 🇵🇪 (@SeleccionPeru) July 2, 2021
And although the Selecao enters the tie as favorites, the match will be close and we, in FootTheBall, have compiled three key individual matchups that can significantly affect the outcome of Monday’s game.
GIANLUCA LAPADULA VS THIAGO SILVA
The fit man for Peru, Gianluca Lapadula, who has repaid his coach’s faith by choosing him over veteran Paolo Guerrero, will be key to his team’s goals, given the suspension by Andre Carrillo and the irregular shape of the other attackers.
He may look like a diminutive forward, but Lapadula offers more in preparation and his fall between the lines is ready to put the Brazilian defense to the test, especially their leader at the rear, Thiago Silva.
Silva and his defense tackled Peru’s talisman well in the group stage match between the two teams, but Lapadula will know and will have improved before Monday’s semi-final.
Even the captain of Brazil will be aware of that and if he manages to keep Lapadula quiet with tight marking and proactivity, he and his team can take the sting out of Peru’s attacks and give the Selecao an advantage.
LUCAS PAQUETA VS YOSHIMAR YOTUN
After scoring the winning goal against Chile and sending Brazil into the semi-final, Lucas Paqeuta’s confidence will be through the roof and with Gabriel Jesus suspended for Monday’s match after receiving a red card, the Lyon forward will surely start. against Peru and will wait. to help your nation reach the final.
And in the case of Peru, the responsibility for stopping Paqueta will lie with his omnipresent Yoshimar Yotun. The defensive midfielder, who is the most experienced player in this Copa América squad, has been a stone alongside Renato Tapia in the middle of the park and will have to be in his prime to stop the creative Brazilian.
Yotun in action for Peru. (Image courtesy: RFF / Website)
Although his main objective will be to stop Paqueta, Yotun must not part with his talent in terms of passing, as his ability to break the lines with his precise passes is one of the key aspects of Ricardo Gareca’s system with this Peruvian team.
ROBERTO FIRMINO VS ANDERSON SANTAMARIA
After his first start in the last group match against Ecuador, Roberto Firmino kept his place for the quarterfinals against Chile and, although he could not have the required impact against La Roja, his movement and ability to play in multiple positions as well. they could make Tite start him against Peru in the semi-final as he can become a nuisance to opposing defenders with his skills and movement.
Firmino, who scored in the 2-1 win over Colombia, has a goal under his belt that will undoubtedly give him some confidence heading into Monday.
And to prevent the Liverpool striker from impacting the game, Anderson Santamaría, along with his fellow defenders, must give 100 percent to tackle Firmino and must use all their experience not to be fooled by the Brazilian’s movements in and around from the penalty area.
Santamaría must be at his best in the game against Brazil. (Image courtesy: RFF / Website)
While he will be the favorite to win aerial duels against Firmino, Santamaría will have to try harder to keep the ball out of Firmino’s reach.
The semifinals of the Copa América are sure to be full of excitement and action. Now it is up to the players to take the game by the neck and record themselves in history.