Brazil banking on defense in Copa America final with Peru

Photo: AFP

Brazil will be looking to maintain their defensive invincibility against Peru in Sunday's Copa America final, midfielder Casemiro says.

The hosts have yet to concede a goal in the tournament, including when they thrashed Peru 5-0 in a group-stage match earlier in the competition.

And keeping their goal intact will be key to lifting a ninth Copa crown, according to the Real Madrid man.

"Ending the competition without conceding a goal is one of our aims," said Casemiro.

"And if we don't concede a goal, it's not just thanks to the guys at the back, those up front help us a lot and that makes the difference."

The woodwork also made a difference in Brazil's 2-0 semi-final victory over arch rivals Argentina, as did referee Roddy Zambrano's refusal to consult VAR twice when Lionel Messi and his team-mates were claiming a penalty.

Sergio Aguero headed against the bar in the first half and Messi rattled the post after the break, while Brazil captain Dani Alves and midfielder Arthur both got away with blatant off-the-ball fouls inside the area on Manchester City pair Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi respectively.

Argentina have complained to South American football's governing body CONMEBOL over the refereeing in that semi-final, although to no avail as the result will not be changed.

Brazil have identified the main threat to their defensive invincibility on Sunday at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium: Peru forward Paolo Guerrero.

He's a player well known to Brazilian fans having spent the last seven years playing in the country.

The 35-year-old scored the winning goal for Corinthians in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup final against Chelsea.

Currently playing for Internacional in Porto Alegre, he previously helped Corinthians win the Sao Paulo state championship in 2013 and Flamengo to do likewise in the Rio state championship four years later.

"He's a player who deserves special attention for everything he's done in the past," said center-back Marquinhos.

"I know him well, I played with him for a bit at Corinthians and I've played against him several times for the national team."

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