Hosts Brazil win Copa America title since 2007: Brazil beat Peru 3-1 at the Maracana on Sunday to seal a first Copa America title since 2007.
Here are the big winners and losers from the 2019 Copa America final.
Winner – Gabriel Jesus
What a Copa America it’s been for Gabriel Jesus. The Manchester City forward was involved in four consecutive Brazil goals, scoring two and assisting two, and he more than stepped up in the final on Sunday.
Firstly, he excellently wriggled free of Peruvian pressure on the right-hand side before delivering a killer cross to the back post, where Everton had crept in unmarked to turn it home and make it 1-0.
And then, just after Peru had levelled from the penalty spot, Jesus received the ball from Arthur, going one-on-one with ‘keeper Pedro Gallese. So many times in the past for City, we’ve seen Jesus fluff his lines here, taking wild swipes at the ball or hitting it straight at the goalkeeper. Not this time. Instead, he showed great composure to wait Gallese out and once the goalkeeper had made his move, Jesus rolled the ball home into the bottom corner, giving Brazil an invaluable half-time lead.
Jesus was harshly sent off in the second half, completing a peculiar hat-trick of a goal, assist and red card, but he’s unlikely to care now.
Winner – Arthur and Roberto Firmino
Of course, that Jesus goal wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Roberto Firmino and Arthur.
In typical Firmino fashion, the Liverpool forward charged back to make a challenge on Yoshima Yotun high up the pitch, managing to turn the ball into the path of Arthur. Rather than simply rolling the ball off to someone else with half time approaching, the Barcelona midfielder charged forward before fizzing a pass into Jesus. Defence was turned to attack in an instant and Peru were just not ready for it.
This one sequence summed up Arthur’s brilliant all-round performance, with the 22-year-old ending the match with an 88% pass completion rate, a match-high two key passes and an assist.
Loser – Alisson
Alisson has won the Copa America Golden Glove, conceding just one goal. We know, we know. But how the Liverpool goalkeeper would have loved to seal that individual honour with a totally clean slate.
Guerrero’s penalty ended an incredible seven-game streak without conceding a goal for club and country for Alisson, with the former Roma goalkeeper having a remarkable effect on fortunes both on the red half of Merseyside and the Samba nation.
When he sits down and takes a look at another winner’s medal in his collection, Alisson will likely not worry too much about conceding in the final. That said, players of his calibre are perfectionists and he will see this as an opportunity missed.
Winner – Everton Sousa Soares
What a breakout tournament this has been for Everton Sousa Soares.
Heading into Copa America 2019, the Gremio forward had scored 49 goals in 210 games at club level, while he had bagged a grand total of zero with Brazil. Copa America has changed everything, with Everton grabbing three goals and, at times, being the difference for the Seleção.
His goal in the final on Sunday was well deserved and things got even better in the second half when he won a late penalty, allowing Everton’s Richarlison (poetic?) to make it 3-1 and put the game beyond doubt.
Loser – Yoshima Yotun
While the work of Firmino and Arthur to win the ball and force the turnover was impressive, it was all incredibly naive from Yotun.
Massive underdogs, you’ve just managed to haul yourselves level against Brazil in the Maracana. You’re moments from half time. Get the ball to safety, see the half out. Whatever happens, don’t run into a dead end and get caught in possession.
With players like Firmino and Arthur incredibly adept at ball-winning, and an in-the-mood striker like Jesus on the pitch, losing the ball in your own half is always going to be dangerous. Yotun should have fired it to safety, instead, he was punished in the cruellest, most ruthless fashion.
Winner – Paolo Guerrero
We’re pretty sure Paolo Guerrero will have wanted his equalising goal to have kept the scores level for far longer than four minutes but, still, in scoring that penalty, the forward has made a little bit of history.
Not only is Guerrero the first and only player to beat Alisson in this year’s Copa America, but he is also just the sixth player to score against all Conmebol opponents in this tournament, joining illustrious names such as Zico, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on that list.
And just to top off this little piece of history for the Internacional forward, he is now the highest active goalscorer in the Copa America and fifth in the competition overall.