Venezuela will look to pull off an upset when they face off against Argentina in the quarterfinals of the Copa America at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
Rafael Dudamel’s side gave a good account of themselves in the group stage, holding Peru and hosts Brazil to 0-0 draws before picking up a 3-1 win against Bolivia in the last group game to progress.
La Vinotinto are not favorites for this match-up, but they will look to finally break their duck and reach a Copa America final this time around.
On the other hand, Argentina flirted with a potential group stage elimination before making it into the knockouts. La Albiceleste lost 2-0 to Colombia in the opening game before drawing 1-1 with Paraguay in the next one.
Sergio Aguero and Lautaro Martinez scored for Lionel Scaloni’s men as they overcame Qatar to book a quarterfinal spot. The 14-time champions are in unreliable form heading into this match but will fancy themselves against Venezuela.
Darwin Machis scored a brace in the previous match and should keep his place for this one. Centre-back Mikel Villanueva missed out the last game due to suspension and should slot right back in.
Scaloni has changed a few personnel every game, trying to figure out the best possible formation for his side. Juan Foyth played in the heart of the defense against Qatar. However, he will very likely revert to right-back with German Pezzella partnering Nicolas Otamendi in defense.
Aguero and Martinez played well together in the previous game and will be expected to continue with Paulo Dybala set to settle for a spot on the bench once again.
Venezuela vs Argentina Prediction
Argentina dominates the overall record, winning 13 out of the 17 games between the sides. La Albiceleste have lost twice and drew the other two.
However, 2 of those draws and a loss came in the recent meetings. La Vinotinto beat their opponents 3-1 back in March and drew the previous two instances during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Further, Venezuela have lost just once in their last 11 full internationals and conceded just once in the Copa America group stage. On the other hand, Scaloni’s men have won only 10 of their previous 20 fixtures, a worrying sign.
Thus, this could be a closely-contested match with both teams finding the back of the net with the winner very likely be decided on penalties.
Predicted Venezuela XI: Farinez; Hernandez, Chancellor, Villanueva, Rosales; Savarino, Herrera, Moreno, Rincon, Machis; Rondon
Predicted Argentina XI: Armani; Foyth, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; Celso, Paredes, Acuna; Messi; Martinez, Aguero