Gillette Stadium is sure to be rocking on Sunday night (8:30, Fox Sports 1) since Brazil’s national team (1-1-0) always attract big crowds when they come to Foxborough, MA with so many Brazilians living all around New England. Peru (1-1-0) will be the clear underdog in many ways as the teams wrap up Group B play. Much is left to be decided as each country is still in contention for first-place: they both have four points after two matches but Brazil’s goal-differential is +6 compared to +1 for Peru so they would have to knock off Brazil to ensure that the tiebreakers don’t matter between them. Ecuador (0-2-0) vs. Haiti (0-0-2) precedes their match on Sunday (6:30, Univision) from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and that result should help to clear things up heading into this last matchup.
It’ll be interesting to see how Brazil and Peru respectively approach their meeting since a tie would actually benefit both of them if Ecuador doesn’t beat Haiti by multiple goals. However, you never peg Brazil as a defensive juggernaut and it seems against their nature to want to slow things down to play out the clock. Likewise, Peru might theoretically desire a draw but it’s hard to actually accomplish that against such a dynamic opponent like Brazil. Ecuador held Brazil in check last Saturday in their 0-0 tie at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA but the Brazilians were able to take their frustration out on Haiti to the tune of a 7-1 blowout victory at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on Wednesday. Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho netted a hat trick for Brazil who scored three goals in the first half and four more in the second half. Midfielder Renato Augusto added two goals as well for Brazil.
Peru has been one of the pleasant surprise teams of the 2016 Copa America so far. Their 1-0 opening win vs. Haiti last Saturday at CenturyLink Field in Seattle wasn’t all that thrilling (striker Paolo Guerrero scored in the 61st minute) but their 2-2 tie with Ecuador on Wednesday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ showed that they can compete with the better teams in this loaded field of 16. Of course, you can’t gloss over the fact that they blew an early 2-0 lead (provided by midfielders Christian Cueva and Edison Flores) against Ecuador but then again, at least they held on for a point.
Looking ahead, the first and second-place teams from Group B will meet the first and second-place teams from Group A in the quarterfinals which start next Thursday back in Seattle. That means that Brazil, Peru and/or Ecuador could potentially face Colombia, the U.S. or Paraguay in some tantalizing soccer games.
Follow Metro Boston soccer writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate