Sao Paulo: Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese committed a horrendous error as Brazil ensured top spot in their Copa America group Saturday with a 5-0 victory in Sao Paulo.
Goals from Casemiro, Roberto Firmino, Everton, Dani Alves and Willian ensured the Selecao would finish top of Group A and will play their quarter-final in Porto Alegre, potentially against out-of-sorts Argentina, their bitter rivals.
“We knew we’d get there sooner or later because we worked very hard,” captain Alves said.
“It’s thanks to wins like this that we’re connected with the fans. When we’re all together, we feel the positive energy,” he added.
With Peru already 1-0 down, it was Gallese’s dreadful error that led to Firmino’s goal and swept the mat from under Peru’s feet, with the game turning into a rout.
Darwin Machis scored a brace as Venezuela beat Bolivia 3-1 in Belo Horizonte and leapfrogged Peru into second place, securing a quarter-final at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Maracana stadium.
Peru, who finish third on four points, must now wait nervously to see what happens in the other two groups Sunday and Monday to find out if they will qualify for the knock-out rounds as one of the two best third-place finishers.
Never before since the Copa America adopted a 12-team format in 1993 with eight sides going through to the quarter-finals, has a side mustering four points failed to progress.