Copa America 2011: Peru clinch third

Copa America 2011: Peru clinch third

Peru 4 – 1 Venezuela

Chiroque 41′ Aranjo 77′

Guerrero 63′ 89′ 90′

Estadio Cuidad de la Plata, July 23 – Third place play-off

Both teams had upset the odds to come this far, so it was a pleasant clash to decide who got the bronze medals. Although this time the underdogs wouldn’t come out on top.

Venezuela lined up in what had become their standard formation for the tournament: a 4-4-2, while Peru lined up in something new for them, a 3-5-2. Although there is obviously no rock-beating-scissors-style basic winning formula for formations, the 3-5-2 was a pretty obvious option for Sergio Markarian to use against Venezuela, especially since star man Juan Vargas was suspended and his replacement Yoshimar Yotun could play anywhere down the left flank.

Venezuela were doing their usual tactic of trying to move the ball quickly through the side, but Peru’s formation meant they were able to pressure Venezuela and have a spare man both in midfield and defence, meaning they were bale to hassle Venezuela and hoover up any loose balls. The only place Venezuela had an advantage was down the flanks, but, as they didn’t want to push their full-backs forward, this only really worked when Yohandry Orozco and Cesar Gonzalez caught Peru’s wing-backs high up the pitch and stretched their back three.

Peru’s main way of getting the ball forward remained long balls up to Jose Paolo Guerrero to mixed success, meaning it was an even first half with Venezuela probably having the better of the chances. Crucially however, Peru had the lead. A Venezuelan was caught on the ball by William Chiroque, who counter-attacked lethally – a simple lay-off to Guerrero saw all of Venezuela’s defenders confront him, leaving Chiroque free for a return pass and lots of space to finish.

Tomas Rincon was sent off harshly for the second time at the tournament, then minutes later Peru caught Venezuela on the counter-attack again – Guerrero laying it off to Chiroque this time to engineer himself some space for a shot upon the ball’s return. Venezuela getting anything from the game was looking rather impossible now.

In the 77th minute, Venezuela played Peru at their own game. Renny Vega hitting a long ball forward for Giancarlos Maldonado, a couple of passes before substitute Juan Aranjo took advantage of the space Renzo Revoredo had left to finish. They now had a lifeline, and continued to push men forward. Then, once again, Peru hit them with a long ball – a poor kick by Vega headed back towards Guerrero to control and finish – then Luis Advincula ran down the wing to pass to Guerrero to seal his hat-trick.

Truthfully, it was a game that didn’t matter – no one cares about who finished third – but it was one of the most entertaining matches at the tournament, and both teams should be proud of what they have achieved in Argentina.

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