After 11 days of group stage action in the 2019 Copa América, which has produced quality and entertainment, the tournament is getting into the business end and the promise of knockout, go-big-or-go-home South American drama. Make no mistake about it: this is when the tournament truly begins.
Here is our preview of all the quarter-finals fixtures on the 46th edition of Copa América.
BRAZIL v PARAGUAY – FRI. 28 JUNE 2019, 01.30HRS
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It took Brazil the third match day to finally dazzle and produce Joga Bonito – the flair and offensive creativity the home fans had yearn for since the start of the tournament. The Seleção crushed Peru in their final group game to win the group and are yet to concede in the tournament so far. Everton Soares is the new sensation for Brazil and probably the leading contender for young player of tournament award. Paraguay managed to squeeze through to the knockout stage of the competition having failed to win any of their three Group games. La Albirroja progressed with two points but thanks to Japan’s draw against Ecuador, they finished as second third-place finisher. Miguel Almiron and Derlis Gonzalez are the bright sparks and attacking outlet for Eduardo Berizzo’s team.
VERDICT – Every time Brazil has hosted the Copa América, they have ended as champions. Will Tite’s keep the tradition going? However, in last 18 years, Brazil have played Paraguay four times in the Copa América have failed to beat them in any of those games; La Albirroja beat the Seleção in the 2011 and 2015 Copa América quarter finals. Paraguay are proving to be a difficult team to beat and will offer more resistance than Peru. Regardless, Brazil should come out on top at Arena do Gremio, Porto Alegre.
VENEZUELA v ARGENTINA – FRI. 28 JUNE 2019, 20.00HRS
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A place in the semi-finals is at stake when Venezuela and Argentina lock horns at Estadio do Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro. Venezuela have developed into a stronger footballing side over the last two years under Rafael Dudamel; the former Venezuela goalkeeper system for his team has produced effective result and got the best out of striker Salomon Rondon. It was about getting the job done for Argentina in their final group game against Qatar and La Albiceleste delivered though the team is still struggling for fluidity in the middle of the park. In spite of having Lionel Messi in the team, Argentina looks a team struggling for identity and will have it all to do against La Vinotinto. A potential final four showdown against Brazil in Belo Horizonte is on the cards if they can overcome Venezuela.
VERDICT – Venezuela beat Argentina in the recent meeting in March 3-1, their last Copa América encounter in 2016, the Argentines hammered them 4-1. The last six meeting between these two has been even (2W, 2D, 2L), there isn’t much to separate these sides. However, Leo Messi can be an x-factor and he plays for La Albiceleste nevertheless Venezuela have more consistency than their rival. This could go all the way; expect both teams to get on the score sheet at the Maracanã.
COLOMBIA v CHILE – SAT. 29 JUNE 2019, 00.00HRS
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This is a repeat of one of the 2016’s Copa América Centenario semifinals which La Roja won en route retaining the title. Colombia have a perfect win record at this competition till date winning their group quite comfortably as well as keeping three clean sheets. Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz rested several starters against Paraguay and was able to secure another victory shows the strength of depth. Chile has surprised many at this tournament, having won the last two with several of their stars approaching twilight of their careers; it was meant to be a transitional stage. However, the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Eduardo Vargas and Arturo Vidal have taken the center stage in the tournament. They lost their final group game to a late Uruguay winner which saw them lose top spot in the group but we are guaranteed an exciting game at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.
VERDICT – Reinaldo Rueda, a Colombian and former national team coach knows his opponent very well and will look to disrupt their wide play. Stopping Colombia requires more than one strategy, Los Cafeteros have shown excellent organization without the ball and that could prove a difference in the knockout stages. The last five meetings between has seen one victory a piece and three draws. This is the standout tie of the round and should produce South America’s football heritage of physical play, aggression and technical prowess. With little to separate this power houses, this might go all the way to penalties. Under 3.5 goals
URUGUAY v PERU – SAT. 29 JUNE 2019, 20.00HRS
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Edinson Cavani’s 82nd minute header was enough to lift Uruguay to the top of Group C and have been awarded a quarter-final game against one of third place finishers. As one of the tournament favorites, La Celeste should enter this game with confidence and look to book a semi-final spot for the first time since the 2011 edition. The 5-0 loss to Brazil exposed all sort of defensive challenges Peru have as they prepare to face two world class strikers on Saturday. With Jefferson Farfan ruled out to injury, Ricardo Gareca will be forced make changes to personnel and strategy. Peru will need to match the tenacity and never relenting approach of Uruguay in they want to stand a chance at the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.
VERDICT – Both teams won their home matches in the last FIFA World Cup qualifiers and their last meeting at Copa América was in 2011, a draw in the group stage and a semi-final victory for Uruguay. That victory was Uruguay’s first against Peru in four Copa América meetings. Peru have done well to qualify from the group stage but they have lost five of their last nine matches in all competitions. It remains to be seen how La Blanquirroja reacts to the heavy defeat to Brazil. Uruguay are the favorites to win and should do so.
It is a wrap on our previews of the quarter-finals at the 2019 Copa América. The stakes are getting higher in this competition so you need to keep playing while winning…. Predict and win big by visiting our Sports shop Babaijebu.ng for mouthwatering offers in the 46th edition of the Copa América tournament.