Preview: Brazil vs. Argentina – prediction, team news, lineups

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Two of international football’s great rivals will renew hostilities in the early hours of Wednesday morning when Brazil take on Argentina for a place in the final of the Copa America.

Hosts Brazil go into the match as favourites to progress against an Argentina side that has failed to hit top gear so far in this summer’s tournament, with a showdown against either holders Chile or Peru awaiting the winner.


Brazil

Brazil's players celebrate after Casemiro opens the scoring against Peru in their Copa America clash on June 22, 2019
© Reuters

Brazil boast a proud record of having won the Copa America on all four occasions that they have hosted the tournament, and most signs so far have pointed towards them extending that 100% success rate this summer.

It has not been plain sailing all the way for Tite

At one stage it looked as though Lionel Scaloni‘s side may not even make it out of the group stages having picked up just one point from their opening two games, losing to Colombia before being held by Paraguay.

2-0 win over Qatar was enough to guarantee a quarter-final spot, and they beat Venezuela by the same scoreline last week to progress through to this stage despite once again being short of their best.

Argentina were the only one of the eight quarter-finalists to score during a goal-shy round, though, with all of the other three matches ending 0-0 and going to penalties.

Scaloni will be hopeful that his side are improving at just the right time, then, and victory over their bitter rivals on Wednesday morning would see them win three games in a row for the first time since June 2016 – which incidentally came in their last Copa America semi-final appearance.

With Messi in their ranks it is entirely possible for them to do just that, although they will go into the match as fairly sizeable underdogs and would need to upset the odds – as well as the partizan home crowd – if they are to reach the final yet again.

Recent Copa America form: LDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLDWW


Team News

Richarlison in action for Brazil on June 15, 2019
© Reuters

Brazil were without Richarlison for the quarter-final draw against Paraguay after he contracted mumps, but the Everton man will return to training and should be available for selection on Wednesday.

The hosts also have doubts over Filipe Luis, who was taken off at half time in the previous round, and Fernandinho, who has not featured since the second group game.

Tite started with both Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Jesus again last time out, and he is likely to do the same once more with Everton and Philippe Coutinho in support.

Argentina have no new injury concerns to worry about, but Scaloni must decide whether to start Giovani Lo Celso after he came off the bench to score against Venezuela.

Lautaro Martinez is expected to start again having scored in Argentina’s last two games, with Messi slotting in behind him and Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.

There is a decision to be made at right-back, where Scaloni has used three different players during the four tournament games so far, with Tottenham Hotspur’s Juan Foyth the latest to fill in.

Paulo Dybala and Angel di Maria are among the big names who could once again miss out on a place in the starting XI.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Sandro; Arthur, Casemiro; Jesus, Coutinho, Everton; Firmino

Argentina possible starting lineup:
Armani; Foyth, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico; De Paul, Paredes, Lo Celso; Messi; Aguero, Martinez


Head To Head

These two great rivals have not met at the Copa America since the 2007 final, which Brazil won 3-0 with Dani Alves among the scorers.

Indeed, the Selecao are unbeaten in their last four Copa America meetings with Argentina stretching back to 1993, when Argentina won on penalties en route to the title.

The most recent contest in any competition came in October when Brazil won 1-0 in Saudi Arabia, and you have to go back to 1998 for Argentina’s last win over Wednesday’s opponents on Brazilian soil.

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