COPA AMERICA SEMIFINALS PREVIEW: ARGENTINA VS PARAGUAY
Argentina come into this game unbeaten in the tournament. With the offensive trio of Aguero, Messi, and Di Maria, the Argentinians have been able to create chance after chance but have not been very efficient. All three players have been fantastic going forward and were a bit unlucky to not score in their previous match as Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina played a remarkable game. The pressure is building and you would expect one of these players to hit the back of the net in this game.
Argentina’s defense has been phenomenal at shutting down all opponents attack during the run of play. Ezequiel Garay and Nicolas Otamendi have been stalwarts at the back but Macherano’s toughness in the midfield has made their jobs easy. The aging midfielder may have lost a step but his experience and instincts are still world class. Due to their great defensive play Sergio Romero has not been tested much but did come up with a big save in their last match, on a penalty kick.
Paraguay is the only team to score on Argentina in the tournament and they did it with smart defense and counter attacking Futbol. Argentina will have to be more efficient going forward if they expect to beat Paraguay and as good as the defense has played they have been suspect on dead ball situations. If Argentina can continue to play attacking Futbol at a high level they will be hard to beat. Expect Paraguay to put up a good fight and create some counter attacking opportunities but in the end the Albiceleste’s world class players will prevail.
Paraguay was able to control the midfield for stretches of the game and looked very comfortable in possession. This could be because Brazil chose to inexplicably lay back and try to hold onto their 1 goal lead. Argentina loves to pressure up the field with their pacey forwards but If Paraguay can control possession they should be able to have success against Argentina.
Paraguay came out in a more defensive form against Argentina in the team’s earlier meeting and Víctor Cáceres was a defensive power in the midfield. The 2-2 draw was Paraguay’s best case scenario in group play. Coming into this semifinal after beating Brazil it will be interesting to see if Paraguay deploys the same defensive 4-5-1 form or if they come out more aggressive.
The Paraguayans come into this semifinal against favorite Argentina with a very confident squad. Paraguay was able to dispatch Brazil on penalty kicks in a game where they were deadly on the counter attack and on the wings. Derliz Gonzalez was brilliant from his wing spot, and they will need him to put in a similar effort against the Argentinians.
Argentina 1 Paraguay 0