Brazil will look to take one more step towards winning the Copa America when they face Paraguay in the quarterfinals at the Arena do Grêmio in Porto Alegre.
The hosts are high on spirits after topping Group A with relative ease. They beat Bolivia 3-0 in the first game before getting held by Venezuela to a goalless draw. However, Tite’s men turned on the style and thumped Peru 5-0 in the final group game to gain momentum at the right time.
The Selecao have coped well with Neymar’s absence so far and look to be firing on all cylinders as they aim to win the Copa America for the first time since 2007.
On the other hand, Paraguay continues to defy expectations by qualifying without winning games. Eduardo Berizza’s side threw away a 2-0 lead against Qatar in their first group game and shared the spoils. They went ahead against Lionel Messi’s Argentina but were held once again.
In the final group game, La Albirroja lost 1-0 to a superb Colombian side but managed to qualify as one of the best 3rd-placed teams. Thus, they will have to play out of their skins to have a chance of qualifying to the semifinals.
Tite has stuck to the same back 5 in each of the three games, and they can be expected to continue. Casemiro is set to miss the game due to suspension and Brazil will hope Fernandinho can recover from his injury in time.
In case the Manchester City man fails to make it, Allan will partner Arthur in midfield. Everton looks to have edged out David Neres on one wing while Gabriel Jesus is expected to fight it out with Richarlison on the other.
Meanwhile, for Paraguay, Derlis Gonzalez has failed to deliver in the previous two games after an impressive performance as a substitute in the tournament opener. Oscar Cardozo is expected to get the nod to lead the line.
Brazil vs Paraguay Prediction and Team Form
Brazil are undefeated in their last six meetings with Paraguay, and the latter have lost 3 of their last four away games against the Selecao by 2+ goals.
However, La Albirroja have knocked out Brazil in both 2011 and 2015 editions of the Copa America, on penalties. They will look for a similar performance this time out, considering the game directly goes to penalties at the end of 90 minutes if there is no winner.
In terms of form, however, the story is quite different. Brazil are yet to lose a game since Belgium knocked them out in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a run stretching 13 games. The Selecao have kept 11 clean sheets during this period.
They have scored 3+ goals in 4 of their last six games and kept a clean sheet in each of their group stage games. On the other hand, Paraguay are winless in their previous 8 Copa America games. They have won just once in their last 11 matches.
Thus, Brazil are outright favorites to win the match-up and wait for either of Argentina or Venezuela in the semifinals of the tournament.
Predicted Brazil XI: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Luis; Fernandinho, Arthur; Jesus, Coutinho, Everton; Firmino
Predicted Paraguay XI: Fernandez; Piris, Alonso, Gomez, Arzamendia; Gonzalez, Rodrigo Rojas, Sanchez, Matias Rojas; Almiron; Cardozo