Brazil will face arch-rivals Argentina for a spot in the finals in the biggest clash of the Copa America at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
The Selecao will look to get back to their absolute best as they aim to win the tournament for the ninth time. After topping Group A comfortably, with 2 wins and a draw, Tite’s men struggled to break down Paraguay’s dogged resistance in the quarterfinals.
As per the tournament rules, the game went straight to penalties at the end of 90 minutes and the hosts edged out their opponents to move into the semifinals.Embed from Getty Images
Now, Brazil will want to rediscover their mojo as they aim to enter the first final of a Copa America since 2007. Incidentally, that was the last time they won the tournament as well.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s stuttering campaign looks to be on track after a disastrous start. La Albicelese lost the opening game to Colombia and were held by Paraguay in the next one. They rallied to beat AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar in the final game to seal progress into the knockouts.
A strong display in the quarterfinals led to a 2-0 victory over Venezuela and Argentina can once again start believing of reaching a Copa America final for the third consecutive time. The previous two times, in 2015 and 2016, ended in losses to Chile, who are favorites to reach the final again.Embed from Getty Images
However, Brazil will prove to be the toughest opponent so far and Lionel Scaloni’s men must be at their absolute best to advance into the final, as they aim to win a record-equaling 15th title.
Fernandinho failed to recover in time for the previous game and is facing a race against time to be fit for the semifinal. Napoli’s Allan started in his place but he is expected to make way for Casemiro, who completed his one-match suspension.
Filipe Luis was replaced at half-time due to a hamstring problem and is a doubt for the tie. Alex Sandro came on to play at left-back and the Juventus man is expected to start if Luis does not recover in time. Finally, Richarlison is expected to be fit for the match, giving Tite an extra weapon in attack.
Meanwhile, Lionel Scaloni’s men look to have found a working system which has seen them register victories in their last 2 games. The manager is expected to stick with the same lineup which sees Giovani Lo Celso, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala start on the bench while Lautaro Martinez continues to do well up front alongside Sergio Aguero.
Head-To-Head and Brazil vs Argentina Prediction
Brazil are the more dominant side, winning 5 of the last 10 games between the side and drawing 2 other. In those games, Argentina have managed a single clean sheet compared to the Selecao’s five.
Looking at goals scored, Brazil have scored 15 goals to Argentina’s 9, with 4 of the latter’s tally coming in a single game. Thus, the hosts have the upper hand in recent times and will start the match as favorites.
Further, form favors Tite’s men as well, with the Selecao unbeaten in their last 14 games. Their last loss came against Belgium in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the South American side have registered 12 clean sheets in the same period. Furthermore, they are yet to concede a goal in this tournament.
On the other hand, Argentina have won just 11 out of their last 21 games across all competitions. However, La Albiceleste have won their last 2 games in a row and will have momentum heading into the match.
Considering the match will be decided on penalties after 90 minutes, both teams will aim to secure a win before the end of normal time. Brazil are the better team out of the two, however, the presence of Lionel Messi evens the scales, as a moment of magic could be enough to win the tie.
Predicted Brazil XI: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Sandro; Arthur, Casemiro; Jesus, Coutinho, Everton; Firmino
Predicted Argentina XI: Armani; Foyth, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Acuna; Messi; Martinez, Aguero