Argentina will face Paraguay in the second match of Group B in this year’s Copa America at the Estadio Mineirao in Brazil.
Lionel Scaloni’s side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in their opening match of the tournament, hurting their chances of qualification to the knockouts. This was a surprising result, considering La Albiceleste have not lost that match-up in the last 12 years.
After losing the last 2 Copa America finals, Lionel Messi will be looking to become third time lucky and make it a record-equaling 15th win for his country. However, that would require them to win against Paraguay without fail.
Los Guaranies have their confidence dented a bit after throwing away a two-goal lead in their first match against Qatar. Veteran forward Oscard Cardozo and substitute Derlis Gonzalez scored before the AFC Asian Cup champions scored twice to share the spoils.
A win would have put Paraguay in a firm position to qualify, however, Eduardo Berizza’s side will now have to work harder to clinch direct qualification or go through as one of the best third-placed teams.
Coming to team news, Scaloni will be considering changes after the previous loss. Rodrigo de Paul came on for Angel Di Maria at half-time and made a positive contribution. He is expected to keep his place while Paulo Dybala is still without a role in the national side.
Meanwhile, for Paraguay, Derlis Gonzalez could start ahead of Hernan Perez after his goal-scoring exploits from the bench against Qatar.
Head-To-Head and Argentina vs Paraguay Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, Argentina holds a sharp edge over their opponents. La Albiceleste has lost just once to Paraguay in their previous seven games across all competitions, which came in the recent 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
However, the next year Copa America co-hosts have not lost to Los Guaranies in the past 25 meetings between the sides in this competition. Nevertheless, Paraguay has registered back-to-back clean sheets against their opponents in the last two games and will look to build on that.
However, Berizza’s side has a tough task on their hands, having won just a single game out of their previous eight matches in this tournament. They have won only once in their last 18 Copa America games, and have not prevailed against South American opposition in their previous 13 Copa America games.
Argentina is in bad form as well, winning just 2 out of their last ten competitive games, including losing 3 out of the previous four matches. However, they have never lost their first two games of any Copa America since 1979 and will look to turn the tide against a Paraguay side, who have won just once in their last nine games.
Thus, a close match can be expected from this match-up with a little bit of Messi magic once again lifting Argentina to a win.
Argentina Predicted XI: Armani; Casco, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Lo Celso, Paredes, Pereyra; Messi, De Paul, Aguero
Paraguay Predicted XI: Fernandez; Valdez, Balbuena, Alonso, Arzamendia; Ortiz, Rojas; Gonzalez, Almiron, Dominguez; Cardozo