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Boys from Brazil find a Samba rhythm; INTERNATIONAL SPECIALCopa hosts turn boos into cheers.

Byline: Jamie Hewitt

Peru.......................0 Brazil.....................5 Brazil finally had the punters purring as they turned on the style to crush Peru and reach the last eight of the Copa America.

Booed in their first two games with Bolivia and Venezuela, the Samba stars left the field in Sao Paolo to cheers and applause.

Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro settled any nerves by nodding home the opener inside 12 minutes.

Peru then found themselves blown away as Roberto Firmino and Everton Soares netted twice more before the break as Brazil ran riot.

The old swagger was back for Tite's stars, with Dani Alves and sub Willian adding two brilliant goals after the break.

And they would have hit the Peruvians for six had Gabriel Jesus not missed a penalty deep into stoppage time.

The Brazilian boss had shared the fans' frustrations after the first two matches, admitting he would have given them pelters if he had been sitting in the stands.

However, he had nothing but praise for his troops last night after they eased the pressure on him.

Tite said: "When you score an early goal the team can play differently and open up."

That opener came from a corner as Casemiro headed home from close range after Marquinhos' effort had come back off the bar.

Liverpool's Firmino pounced seven minutes later after keeper Pedro Gallese had made a hash of his kick.

Winger Everton's low shot sneaked inside Gallese's near post to put Brazil in cruise control after 32 minutes. A brilliant team move was then given the finish it deserved as Alves smashed home for 4-0. That superb strike was arguably bettered in the last minute as Willian cut in from the left before sending a 25-yard strike into the net.

Manchester City striker Jesus should have made it six after he was brought down by keeper Gallese in the box.

But the Peru goalie made amends by diving to his right to keep out the penalty. Brazil topped Group A ahead of Venezuela, who beat Bolivia 3-1 last night, while Peru could still qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.

Boss Ricardo Gareca said: "It's not up to us now. That's the uncomfortable situation."

Darwin Machis was the Venezuela hero against the Bolivians, netting twice.

After successive 0-0 draws against Peru and Brazil, the Venezuelans finally found their scoring touch.

Cadiz striker Machis headed an early opener then scored a spectacular second after the break.

Bolivia pulled one back in 83 minutes through Leonel Justiniano but Josef Martinez hit a third for Venezuela three minutes later.

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OPEN THE FLOODGATES Casemiro heads home first goal for Brazilians

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:3BRAZ
Date:Jun 23, 2019
Words:442
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