Brazil faced Peru in the last of group B matches of Copa America. Brazil were coming into the game at the back of a 7-1 routing of Haiti while Peru was held to a draw against Ecuador even after leading 2-0. A draw was enough to take Brazil to the quarter finals at the expense of Peru but this was not the case.
Brazil were knocked out of the Group Stages courtesy some poor refereeing which saw a controversial goal being allowed as well as clear penalties not being awarded.
So a 1-0 defeat saw Brazil failing to make it beyond the group stage for the first time since 1987, whereas this was also the first time Peru managed to beat Brazil since 1985. Though Brazil was not prioritizing on winning the Copa America as Dunga had rested a lot of first team players to prepare for the Rio Olympics of 2016 but a defeat and elimination like this will be hard to digest; this will also hamper the team mentally in its preparation for the Olympics.
Brazil made changes to the side that had beaten Haiti, teenage sensations Gabriel and Lucas Lima were given starting role after their impressive outing against Haiti from the bench with both ending on the score sheet, whereas Miranda was back in the defense after regaining his fitness. Brazil were clearly the better team and were out of the block from the start. Hat trick Hero from last match Philippe Coutinho was at it again stretching Peru’s defense in the early stages with a series of neat touches and probing runs.
The first half though ended 0-0, it saw Brazil probing runs and some magnificent work by Peru’s No 1 Pedro Gallese’s denying Brazil on more than one occasion.
The first half also penalty calls by both sides wavered away by the referee. First it was in the 24th minute when Christian Ramos clashed with Lucas Lima inside the box and then on the other half of the pitch at stroke of halftime when Edison Flores was tripped by Renato Augusto. Both decisions could have been a penalty but the Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha stood firm only to add to his blunder later in the match.
Both teams ended the half at 0-0 but Brazil were clearly the dominant side and had it not been Gallese’s man of the match effort for his country Brazil would have had scored plenty as they did against Haiti.
However in the second half Peru came out of their shadows and started to play more on the ball, but were still not as convincing as Brazil. But all that was put to rest when against the run of play Peru went ahead on the score sheet in the 75th minute.
Andy Polo playing on the right wing had a probing run and picked out Riduaz from the cross for him to fire home past Allisson. The goal turned into a protest from the Brazilians as they protested for the use of hand by Riduaz which was in fact the case. There was utter chaos on the field for none of the teams knew as to what was the final verdict as Referee Andres Cunha appeared to be talking to another official over his headset and his assistant referee to decide what to do. Cunha and his staff took many minutes to discuss, while shooing off players who were furious at the indecision and then ruled in favor of Peru.
All Brazil needed was a goal to jump back into the box seat and qualify for the next stage and Elias came within a whisker of sparing his team’s blushes but once again the Peruvian keeper stood strong to deny him.
At the end of match Peru finished top of Group B and will go on to face Columbia in the quarter finals.
An Appeal to FIFA as well as Players
The match exposed some poor standards of refereeing at a big tournament and will again bring the focus on use of technologies. One poor decision was all it took to eliminate Brazil and this has been sort of a norm in big tournaments which have been under constant scrutiny one can only hope that FIFA will pay heed to it and take some drastic steps to work on this aspect to help in reduce the agony of both fans and players. Also the need for players to be morally right, Riduaz knew that he had handled the ball and should not have told the referee, football needs some honest men who put value and ethics over winning.