Peru can aspire to a title and be prepared to win, coach Ricardo Gareca said on Saturday in the run-up to the unprecedented Copa America final against hosts and favorites Brazil.
“It’s not going to be easy for either team. We got here very well, we’re ready to win. Peru is in a position to aspire to a title” the Argentine coach said this Saturday at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, where the match will take place on Sunday.
“I don’t know if the same thing that happened in that first game will happen again, the point is that we aspire to make a great game, different from that, we are in a final”, he added.
Peru, two-time continental tournament winners in 1939 and 1975, lost 5-0 to the world’s five-time champions in the group stage, but reacted during the tournament, eliminating Uruguay (5-4 on penalties, 0-0 in 90 minutes) in the quarterfinals and Chile (3-0) in the semifinals.
“If I have to choose a moment to face Brazil, is this one, because we’ve come from playing against two teams that have strengthened us”, Gareca said.
– Attacking and how to do it –
“I’m concerned about everything about Brazil”, said Gareca, Peru’s leader since March 2015 and the person responsible for qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, 36 years after his last participation in a World Cup.
“The possession of the ball is going to be important and more against a team like Brazil that makes you suffer when you don’t have it. We aim to get the ball out, but what is difficult to diagnose is how to do it”, said the ‘Tigre’.
“It’s important to try to attack him, and that’s what we’re working on, how to attack him”, added the 61-year-old.
Gareca insisted that the finals “are complicated for everyone”, even “for those experienced players” because “you feel the tension on the field.
“We’re a team that knows each other well and that’s important for this kind of game. I am not concerned emotionally for this game. Although we haven’t played a final for a title, Peru played another kind of finals that were the ones that allowed us to go to a World Cup”, said Gareca.
The left winger Édison Flores accompanied Gareca at the press conference at the Maracaná and said that the match against Brazil, which is seeking its ninth title as champion of the Americas, “will be another one, different from the 5-0”.
“It’s going to be a great final and we’re working to give Peru a good afternoon against a great team. We’re very focused and waiting for the time to play our game”, said the Monarcas Morelia player.
Brazil and Peru will face each other on Sunday at the temple of the Maracana starting at 17:00 local time.