Raul Ruidiaz delivered the knock-out blow which sent Brazil crashing out of the Copa America. Quite literally—the Peru star punched the ball into the back of the net to seal a humiliating elimination for the Selecao.
After Andy Polo zipped down the right wing in the 75th minute, and cut the ball across, substitute Ruidiaz bundled it home and wheeled off to celebrate, while Brazil started protesting furiously to referee Andres Cunha and his linesman.
The official ruled the goal out, with Peru joining in the furious debate, which lasted for over two minutes, with the referee taking instructions over his earpiece from a mystery third party.
Raul Ruidiaz handled the ball into the back of the net to ensure Peru’s progression to the knockout stages and end Brazil’s hopes
Ruidiaz claimed the ball hit his thigh rather than his hand and said the goal was ‘thanks to God’ rather than another hand of God
The ball clearly hit Ruidiaz’s hand but the Uruguayan officials and Paraguayan fourth official failed to spot the goal
Ruidiaz used his hand to tap the ball home from close range – piling misery on Dunga’s side and sending them out of the competition
Brazilian players surround the referee Andres Cunha as they suggest Peru’s winning goal was a handball
MATCH FACT AND RATINGS
BRAZIL: Alisson 6; Alves 6, Gil 5.5, Miranda 6, Filipe Luis 7; Elias 6, Renato Augusto 5.5, Lucas Lima 7; Willian 6, Gabriel 7 (Hulk 72, 5), Coutinho 7.5
Booked: Lima, Augusto
PERU: Gallese 8; Corzo 7, Rodriguez 7, Ramos 6, Trauco 6.5; Balbin 5.5 (Yotun 46, 7.5), Valchez 6; Polo 7.5, Cueva 6.5 (Tapia 90), Flores 6 (Ruidiaz 64, 7); Guerrero 6
Goal: Ruidiaz 75
Referee: Andres Cunha (Uruguay)
Eventually he awarded the goal — implying that whoever he was speaking to was not watching a video replay—because if they had it would have been an easy decision to rule it out.
Peru’s victory saw them top Group B to set up a quarter-final clash with Colombia, while Ecuador go through second and Brazil finish a humiliating third.
Ruidiaz claimed his controversial goal against Brazil was legal because the ball hit him on the thigh, despite replays clearly showing he punched it into the net.
Speaking after the game, Ruidiaz said: ‘It was a quick move and it hit me in the thigh. I don’t understand why there was controversy, because it was a clean play,’ he said.
Some have compared it to Diego Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ goal and Ruidiaz did say Peru’s victory was ‘thanks to god’, although he was not making specific reference to his goal.
Brazil’s Dani Alves says the handball is not a get-out clause for his team’s knockout.
‘I believe it does not serve as an excuse. It is a fact that Brazil has achieved nothing in our last major competitions, and against that there are no arguments.
‘I am very competitive, so going through this is unacceptable to me as a competitor.’
The match had started well for the Selecao. Dunga defied his natural conservative instincts and opted for Lucas Lima to replace the suspended Casemiro.
BRAZIL’S DISASTROUS CAMPAIGN
Brazil 0-0 Ecuador – June 4
Brazil 7-1 Haiti – June 8
Brazil 0-1 Peru – June 12
The Santos attacking midfielder is sporting the No 10 for Brazil at this tournament and his selection meant that Renato Augusto was pushed back into a more defensive role, with Elias.
Many expected Dunga to opt for Walace as the Real Madrid man’s stand-in but the coach showed he is reacting to demands for more creativity in the side. He also opted for Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa up front, another Santos star, to add spark and flair which Jonas lacked in the previous two games.
It seemed to be working in the first half, with Philippe Coutinho and Willian on the wings working the Peru defenders extremely hard, drifting into space and probing for openings.
The Liverpool man was in particularly fine fettle, all flicks and tricks, subtle touches and full-body turns, leaving Peru chasing thin air. But it did not manifest itself on the scoreboard.
Filipe Luis had a strike saved early on, before Gabriel’s low strike forced a brilliant stop from Pedro Gallese, down low to his right.
Brazil had a couple of early claims for penalties, both weak, but a strong one arrived in the 23rd minute, when Lucas Lima was taken out by Christian Ramos, with referee Andres Cunha ignoring his appeal.
That was the course of action the referee took just before half-time too, when he denied Peru a penalty after Renato Augusto clumsily tripped Edison Flores inside the area.
The 25-year-old (right, pictured with Christian Cueva) celebrates at the Gillette Stadium despite knowing he should have been penalised
Brazil national team manager Dunga had been criticised for his conservative tactics ahead of Sunday night’s match
Brazil’s attacking players, including striker Gabriel Barbosa, could not break down a staunch Peru defence
It could have been one each on penalties but the score was tied at half-time, partly in thanks to another Gallese save from a Gabriel strike.
Despite starting the match in attacking fashion, Brazil closed up after the break, knowing that one Peru goal could send them crashing out, but that is exactly what happened.
Alisson made a good save from Christian Cueva’s free-kick after Joao Miranda took down substitute Victor Yotun, who breathed new life into Peru’s attack.
Coutinho was Brazil’s liveliest player in the second half too, with one strike blocked and another taken well by Gallese, with 20 minutes left on the clock.
But as their chances became fewer, and farther spaced out, Peru began to become more confident. And then came Ruidiaz’s goal, the match-winner, despite fervent Brazilian protest.
The controversy should not detract from praise for Peru’s performance. The last time they beat Brazil in the Copa America was in 1975. They went on to win the tournament that year. With this spirit they could do it again.
With Hulk on for Gabriel Brazil looked limp in the attack in the final stages and didn’t create any more clear cut chances, despite needing just one goal to put themselves into the next round. Elias had the best opportunity, unable to react in time when the ball came through to him in the box after Ramos missed his clearance.
After six minutes of stoppage time Cunha blew the whistle and Peru fans and players exploded as one, while the Selecao sank to their knees, embarrassed. But we should have expected it — this is the state of Brazil in 2016.
Brazil coach Dunga, who now faces the sack, lashed out at Copa America match officials after the final whistle.
Dunga was angry that the officials appeared to be talking on their headsets to another party, but then still ended up giving the wrong decision.
‘Despite all the technology, we still make mistakes,’ he said. ‘The referees consulted. They were talking to [someone] somewhere else when they should be talking to each other. I don’t understand why they had to be on the headset to consult. This is very strange.
‘The fans saw this game, they saw how we played, especially in the first half, and they saw how Brazil were eliminated, not by football itself. Brazil have never been eliminated before with a goal scored with a hand.’
Peru struggled in the first half but improved significantly in the second period before going on to win the match through Rudiaz
Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was in incredible form throughout the game to keep Brazil’s forward line at bay
The embarrassingly early knock out has raised the pressure on the coach, who is widely expected to be sacked if Brazil do not win the gold medal in the Rio Olympic Games’ football tournament.
However, he says he is not afraid of the sack. ‘I am only afraid of death, I am not afraid of that,’ he said. ‘The president knows what we are doing, how we are working, we know about the pressure, and we know that the job comes with criticism. When you work for the Brazil national team you have to know the criticism will mount when you don’t get results but internally we know what we are doing.’
Brazil’s players disagreed on whether the officials could be blamed for their defeat.
Hulk thought that was the case, saying: ‘We lament the refereeing. It took all that time not to decide anything.’
However, centre back Miranda said: ‘You cannot blame the referee, unfortunately in football you still cannot use technology.
‘I think there’s a lot left to be desired [from our performance]. Everyone expects titles in Brazil, but unfortunately today was not a happy night.
‘We had chances but we did not know how to take advantage of them, unfortunately in football it’s like that so one day we get it, the other day it’s taken away.
‘The other day the ball did not go out [Ecuador had a goal against Brazil unfairly disallowed] but they ruled out the goal, now there’s a goal scored with a hand.’
Dani Alves, pictured watching the ball trickle into the net, is refusing to blame Brazil’s controversial Copa America exit on the handball goal
Ruidiaz is all smiles as he looks into the camera following his match-winning goal during his side’s final Copa America group stage game
Ruidiaz’s strike brought back memories of Diego Maradona’s infamous ‘hand of God’ goal against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico
A dejected Dunga takes to the pitch to console his players including Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho (far right)
Brazil’s Lucas Lima (left) and Gil (right) show their frustration after seeing their side fall at the first hurdle of this year’s Copa America
A Brazil supporter looks far from happy during the Copa America clash in Foxborough, Massachusetts as he is surrounded by Peru fans