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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Brazil Buries Peru 7-0 for Final Place

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia -- Brazil steamrollered Peru's inexperienced team 7-0 to reach the final of the Copa America.


The ruthlessly efficient world champion was ahead after just two minutes and had taken a 4-0 lead by halftime in an embarrassingly one-sided contest.


Midfielder Leonardo, who scored two goals, was inspirational for Brazil, while striker Romario scored twice before limping off injured in the 70th minute after appearing to pull a muscle. He is expected to miss Sunday's final.


Ronaldo was the only let-down for Brazil. He got himself booked for a niggly off-the-ball challenge in the first half, missed an open goal early in the second and was eventually substituted. Its other goals came from Denilson, Flavio Conceicao and Djalminha.


Peru, which is involved in the South American World Cup qualifying tournament, had brought what was effectively its under-23 side to the competition to prevent its top players being overwhelmed by too many fixtures.


The experimental side had gone beyond all expectations by beating Uruguay and Argentina on its way to Thursday's semifinal, but it had clearly bitten off more than it could chew in trying to take on the full-strength world champions.


Brazil, attempting to win the tournament for the first time outside its own country, faces a stiffer task in Sunday's final when it plays host Bolivia in La Paz, at 3,600 meters above sea level.


Brazil, which has won all five games and scored 18 goals on its way to the final, was tough in the tackle, defended in depth and lethal on the break.


Captain Dunga, the team's hard man, made his presence felt by committing his first foul after just 30 seconds, and the first goal arrived in the second minute when Denilson beat the Peruvian defense to Cafu's cross to score.


Peru looked briefly threatening but its resistance effectively ended when Flavio Conceicao scored with a powerful 30-meter drive in the 28th minute. From then on it was a question of how many Brazil would score. Brazil coach Mario Zagallo said Thursday that he was not worried about facing Bolivia in Sunday's Copa America.


"Our opponents on Sunday will be Bolivia, not the altitude," he said. "The altitude is there, it always has been." He went on to refer to his own playing days as an example.


"In 1964, I went there with Botafogo. I played 90 minutes, you notice a bit of a difference but you can play perfectly well," he said. "We know from the start that if we reached the final and the final was against Bolivia, we would have to go there. I'm not here to complain."