Gabriel Jesus threatened to turn from hero to villain but his Brazil team-mates sealed a 3-1 win over Peru at the Maracana and a ninth Copa America title.

Tite's men beat their final opponents 5-0 during the group stage but were under pressure when Peru skipper Paolo Guerrero cancelled out Everton's opener with a 44th-minute penalty.

But Jesus, whose excellent wing play laid on Brazil's first goal, restored the advantage in first-half injury time.

That would prove to be the goal that sealed the five-time world champions' first major honour for 12 years, although a clumsy aerial challenge on Carlos Zambrano was enough to earn Jesus a second yellow card and set up a fraught finale - until substitute Richarlison dispatched a final-minute penalty to spark buoyant celebrations.

Peru began confidently before Brazil hit the front in the 15th minute.

Jesus got the jump on Miguel Trauco with a clever run before jinking around the full-back and crossing for Everton to finish gleefully on the half-volley.

Everton turned provider shortly afterwards as Philippe Coutinho shot wide from 10 yards and Roberto Firmino headed narrowly over in the 36th minute.

They were misses the Selecao would regret when referee Roberto Tobar upheld a harsh handball call against a prone Thiago Silva on review and Guerrero levelled from the spot.

Peru's joy was short-lived, however, as Zambrano's ill-timed slip allowed the razor-sharp Jesus to steal in for a cool finish.

Coutinho fizzed a curling effort fractionally wide six minutes into the second period as Brazil pushed to increase their lead.

Jesus was shown remonstrating in tears on steps inside the stadium tunnel after his fifth foul of the game strained Tobar's patience too far.

Edison Flores sent a rasping strike wide before the action became unhelpfully fractious as far as Ricardo Gareca's men were concerned.

Zambrano then erred once more, bundling Everton over, and Richarlison was on hand to land the final blow.

Lionel Messi continues his bid to end a career-long wait for major international silverware with Argentina, but Brazil stand in his way at the Copa America.

Messi has acknowledged his form has yet to peak at this year's tournament, Argentina's captain scoring only once in four games to date – a strike that came from the penalty spot.

With Argentina having lost each of the past two Copa America finals to Chile on spot-kicks, Messi will be determined to right that wrong in Brazil, though he failed to convert a strong personal desire for 2018-19 Champions League success into glory for Barcelona.

"He's playing well, for me, he's doing things right, he's not just scoring goals, which is what he usually does," Angel Di Maria said to Diario Ole. "He's running, giving everything, that's very important. He knows more than anyone that in the Copa America you have to run and think of others."

Having seemingly hit their stride in a 5-0 demolition of Peru, Brazil then needed penalties to knock out a stubborn Paraguay in the quarter-finals. They have drawn a blank in two of their past three Copa games.

Like Messi, Brazil are desperate for international success with a ninth Copa triumph likely to go some way to healing the still painful wounds from their 7-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany on home soil in the World Cup semi-finals five years ago.

Gremio winger Everton has sporadically impressed as a replacement for injured talisman Neymar, ruled out of the tournament by an ankle injury sustained in a friendly against Qatar, with Tite often fielding Gabriel Jesus from the right.

But failing to break down both Venezuela and Paraguay indicates a rethink may be required with Everton attacker Richarlison potentially an option to come into the front line after he recovered from a bout of mumps.

Midfield duo Arthur and Casemiro return from suspension but Fernandinho (knee) is a doubt and left-back Filipe Luis (thigh) may not be able to start for the hosts either.

Neither side head into Tuesday's clash in particularly good form but Brazil against Argentina, a fixture the Selecao have won four times in a row at the Copa America and arguably the biggest rivalry in international football, surely cannot fail to deliver drama.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brazil - Gabriel Jesus

Handed Manchester City's number nine shirt during the tournament, Jesus has yet to score his first Copa America goal but he could argue not being used as a central forward has affected his ability to find the net. Jesus did convert the winning penalty to down Paraguay in the last round, but another start on the right seems likely and he will have to find a way to make an impact from wide areas.

Argentina - Sergio Aguero

Jesus' City team-mate Aguero will not be shunted to the flank, but he has similarly been unable to show his typically prolific form in front of goal. A single strike against Asian Cup winners Qatar is not an impressive return for Aguero given he has Messi serving him and Inter striker Lautaro Martinez - who has been linked with a surprise switch to Barcelona - has outscored him by netting in successive matches.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Brazil have never lost a competitive game at home against Argentina (W8 D2), and are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with their rivals in all competitions (W6 D1).
- Argentina have made it through to the final each of the last five times they reached the Copa America semis; indeed, they only failed to progress from the last four in 1987, when they lost 1-0 at home against Uruguay.
- Brazil have attempted the most (84) and have faced the fewest (24) shots so far in the 2019 Copa America – they have only faced five shots on target.
- Philippe Coutinho has been involved in the most shots so far in the 2019 Copa America: 29 (16 attempts and 13 chances created) – at least 12 more than any other Brazilian or Argentinian player (Roberto Firmino, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi all on 17).
- Brazil have made it through to the final in each of the last six occasions they reached the Copa America semi-finals; the last time they failed to progress from this stage was in 1979, against Paraguay (two legs).

Tournament hosts Brazil are out for redemption as they take on Paraguay in the first of this year's Copa America quarter-finals.

Eight-time winners of the competition Brazil have been eliminated at this stage by the same opponents in their last two knockout-round involvements, both times on penalties.

Brazil failed to make it as far as the last eight in the United States three years ago but they had less trouble progressing this time around, sealing top spot in Group A with a resounding 5-0 victory over Peru in their final group game.

Tite's decision to shake up his attack paid off in Sao Paulo as Casemiro and Roberto Firmino put the hosts 2-0 up, and further goals followed from star man Everton, captain Dani Alves and substitute Willian.

And after being jeered by supporters in their first two matches - a disjointed 3-0 win over Bolivia and a goalless draw with Venezuela - Tite admitted favourites Brazil cannot afford to drop their levels following the confidence-boosting victory over Peru.

"It was one of our best games," he said. "It is a game that must be continued.

"We are here to win and we want to play good football. We want to do the best and we are happy about it."

Paraguay finished runners-up in 2011 and reached the semi-finals in 2015, but they have been given far less hope of knocking out Brazil this time around.

Eduardo Berizzo's side are the first team to advance past the group stages of a Copa America with only two points since three points for a win was introduced in 1995, progressing through as one of the best third-place finishers.

But Berizzo felt Paraguay were worthy of a place in the last eight as their performances against Qatar, Argentina and Colombia deserved more.

"Hopefully we can start a totally different Copa America in the next phase," he said after the 1-0 loss to Colombia on Sunday. 

"I hope we are rewarded for our two good matches, or two-and-a-half very good matches."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Brazil - Everton

The Gremio forward was handed a start against Peru after impressing as a sub in Brazil's first two matches and he more than justified his selection with his goal and all-round play, which should be enough for him to retain his place out wide.

Paraguay - Miguel Almiron

Newcastle United's club-record signing assisted goals in Paraguay's first two matches but had far less impact against Colombia last time out, managing just one shot of any note. Far more will be expected on Thursday.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Brazil have lost only two of their 38 home matches against Paraguay in all competitions (26W 10D). Those defeats were in August 2002 (1-0) in an international friendly and in May 1949 (2-1) in Copa America.
- Brazil will play in the Copa America quarter-finals for the 10th time since the introduction of the current format (1993).
- Brazil have kept a clean sheet in all their games at this tournament (2W 1D) - their longest such run in the competition since 1997.
- Paraguay have won only one of their last 20 games in the competition (11D 8L) - 1-0 against Jamaica in 2015.

Tite has hinted he will make changes for Copa America hosts Brazil's final group outing following a couple of lacklustre displays to start the tournament.

The Selecao have been booed during their opening two matches and now need to respond against Peru in Sao Paulo on Saturday if they are to finish top of Group A.

After scoring three times in the second half to win 3-0 against lowly ranked Bolivia to spare their blushes in the competition's opening match, Brazil failed to find a way past Venezuela in their next game, with two goals being ruled out by VAR.

Neymar-less Brazil managed just one shot on target - their least in a game over the last four Copa America tournaments - and head coach Tite is expected to make changes in attack against Peru, who also have four points from their two matches.

"We weren't effective enough in the attack," Tite said after the Venezuela stalemate.

"We needed to be more precise up front to be able to translate our superiority into goals."

David Neres, Richarlison and Roberto Firmino have started both matches, despite Gabriel Jesus' positive form heading into the tournament where he scored five goals in three outings for Manchester City and Brazil, while Gremio forward Everton has also impressed with his cameos from the bench.

Brazil need a win to make sure they claim top spot, which should set up a more favourable quarter-final tie.

But Ricardo Gareca's side will not make life easy for their opponents, having breathed life into their campaign with a 3-1 win over Bolivia last time out to leave themselves second, two points better off than Venezuela.

Gareca described the match as must-win and his players got the job done after battling back from a goal down at the iconic Maracana, despite being far from their best for the second game running.

And Peru historically boast a good 'away' record against Brazil in Copa America tournaments as they beat the Selecao 3-1 in 1975 and drew 0-0 in 1989.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Peru - Paolo Guerrero 

Former Bayern Munich striker Guerrero scored Peru's equaliser against Bolivia to take his tally to 12 Copa America goals - the joint-most among current active players. The captain then provided the assist for Jefferson Farfan's header to prove his importance once again.

Brazil - Everton

After scoring a long-range goal against Bolivia and looking bright in his second successive appearance from the bench in the draw with Venezuela, Everton has been tipped to replace either Neres or Richarlison in attacking midfield. He has seven goals in 16 league appearances for club side Gremio this season and recently talked up a move to Manchester United.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Brazil have lost only one of their last 18 meetings with Peru in all competitions (W11 D6), but that loss came in the last Copa America tournament in 2016 (0-1), when Brazil failed to qualify from the group stage for the first time since the 1987 edition.
- Brazil have lost only three of their 17 Copa America meetings with Peru (W11 D3), scoring 34 goals and conceding 13.
- Brazil have kept a clean sheet in each of their last eight Copa America home games (W5 D3); they last conceded at home in this competition in 1989, against Venezuela.
- Peru are unbeaten in their last seven Copa America games (W4 D3), their longest unbeaten run in the competition’s history.
- Only two of Brazil’s last 24 Copa America goals have come from set pieces: a penalty goal by Coutinho against Bolivia in this tournament, and a goal by Thiago Silva from a corner against Venezuela in 2015.

Lucas Moura has been called up to the Brazil squad to face Saudi Arabia and Argentina following an injury to Gremio striker Everton. 

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