Porto Alegre, July 4: Chile's hopes of winning a third successive Copa America are over after a heavy 3-0 defeat against an impressive Peru in Porto Alegre on Wednesday (July 3).
First-half goals from Edison Flores and Yoshimar Yotun, along with Paolo Guerrero's late sealer, dashed La Roja's dreams of equalling Argentina's record of three consecutive continental triumphs and sent Peru through to their first final since 1975.
Though they only reached the knockout rounds as one of the group stage's two best third-placed teams, Ricardo Gareca's Peru were superior throughout and now face hosts Brazil in Sunday's decider at the Maracana.
Chile's humiliation was complete when Eduardo Vargas dinked a penalty straight to Pedro Gallese at the death.
An entertaining start saw Christian Cueva and Charles Aranguiz poke wide with good opportunities at either end.
Peru settled quickest and punished a disorganised Chile defence in the 20th minute.
Andre Carrillo nodded on Cueva's right-sided delivery and winger Flores made no mistake at the back post.
Gabriel Arias was at fault for the second 18 minutes later, the goalkeeper failing to beat Carrillo to a loose ball and leaving his goal exposed for Yotun to skilfully control and volley home a high cross.
Peru lost Flores to an innocuous ankle injury five minutes into the second half and narrowly avoided another setback when Vargas' glancing header struck the left post.
A well-worked counter should have brought the sealer on the hour, but Yotun ballooned his finish over a gaping target.
Gallese then produced three important stops to keep the two-goal margin intact and, after Guerrero coolly slotted away the third in the 91st minute, denied Chile a consolation.
Luis Abram's rash challenge on Aranguiz sent Vargas to the spot but the striker's Panenka met goalkeeper Gallese's outstretched arm.
What does it mean? Expectation descends on Selecao
If there was not already enough pressure on Brazil to lift the trophy in their own backyard, the belief of local fans is set to ratchet up further.
Peru last reached the final 44 years ago and the prospect of facing an inexperienced – albeit clearly talented – opponent is sure to sit comfortably with Tite's team.
Cueva exudes class in attack
Though he squandered a promising early opportunity, Krasnodar's Cueva more than made amends by designing Peru's opener.
The attacking midfielder forged a dangerous partnership with centre-forward Guerrero that gave Chile constant headaches.
Arias all at sea for crucial second
Chile had limited the damage of a poor first half until shot-stopper Arias ventured well outside his area before the break.
Retreating defenders were unable to account for an error in judgement that condemned Reinaldo Rueda's side to defeat.
Two-time Copa America winners Peru will hope to upstage Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday (July 7), while Chile meet Argentina in the third-place play-off a day earlier.