Brazil vs. Peru - June 12, 2016 - ExLink Image

Brazil vs. Peru
Copa America Centenario
June 12 | 8:30 pm ET | Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
TV: FS1, Univision, UDN

The top two teams through the first two matchdays in Group B will look to book a place in the Copa America quarterfinals in the final match of the group. 


Group B musical chairs


Complicating matters for this game is that a third team in the group, Ecuador, also have a chance of advancing if they beat Haiti. Since that game will take place before this one, Brazil and Peru will know exactly what they need to do to advance. But if Ecuador defeat Haiti, then the team that wins this game will guarantee passage.


There is a chance that Brazil and Peru could both advance if they draw in this game, even if Ecuador win, and then it would come down to goal difference, with all three teams sitting on five points. Brazil come into this game with a +6 goal difference, so they will advance, but Peru's fate could hang in the balance. All this is to say, as long as Ecuador win on Sunday, this game should see two teams go for a win rather than have them be content to register a draw. And that should make for more interesting soccer.


Brazil: Back on track?


After a disappointing scoreless draw to Ecuador, Brazil shook out the cobwebs and routed Haiti 7-1. Was that a good night against an inexperienced opponent, or Brazil finding traction? That's one of the biggest questions of the tournament, as Brazil have plenty of talent, but it's unclear if they have the kind of team that can truly win this competition. Peru aren't the best team in South America, by a long shot, but they have proven to be a good Copa America team. If Brazil can dispatch Peru comfortably, then it will go some way to showing this indeed is a Brazilian team to be afraid of in the knockout stage.


If they draw Peru? Those doubts will creep in again, and a loss here could see them exit the competition altogether.


Can Peru make it eight in a row?


Considering Peru's poor record in recent World Cup qualifying cycles, it may be surprising to learn they have advanced to the knockout stages the last seven Copa America tournaments, stretching back to 1997, and have three semifinal appearances in that span, including the last two Copas.


Ecuador showed it's more than possible to get a result against the mighty Brazil, and Peru are fortunate that in some scenarios they could still progress to the quarterfinals with a draw in this game. Yes, a win in their second game over Ecuador, when they went ahead 2-0 only to concede twice for a draw, would have secured passage, but they've got a solid shot of making it to the knockouts for the eighth consecutive Copa America.


And while Paulo Guerrero is the star of this team, Ricardo Gareca's squad has shown this is not a one-man team. They've got the ability to play together as a group and the belief they can do it. A win over Brazil would still be an upset, but it wouldn't be quite as bit of a surprise in the context of Los Incas' Copa America history.