Football: Brazil and Venezuela reach Copa America knock-out stages, Peru made to wait

Brazil's Casemiro applauds fans after he is substituted.
Brazil's Casemiro applauds fans after he is substituted.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Hosts Brazil reached the Copa America quarter-finals by topping Group A after a 5-0 thrashing of Peru in Sao Paulo on Saturday (June 22).

Venezuela also qualified for the knock-out stages following a 3-1 victory over Bolivia in Belo Horizonte, but Peru must wait to find out if they progress as one of the two best third-place finishers.

Having been jeered in their previous two fixtures - a 3-0 win over Bolivia and 0-0 draw with Venezuela - Brazil found the form that had been missing so far in the tournament.

Even without injured star forward Neymar, they proved irresistible in attack.

Goals from Casemiro, Roberto Firmino and Everton had virtually wrapped up the victory and top spot in the group by half-time.

Dani Alves and Willian added second half goals before Gabriel Jesus won a stoppage time penalty only to see Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese save his spot-kick.

In Belo Horizonte, Darwin Machis scored a brace to send Venezuela on the way to the quarter-finals.

Bolivia pulled back a goal through Leonel Justiniano on 82 minutes but four minutes later Josef Martinez sealed the victory and progress to the knock-out stages.