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Copa America

Jun 28, 2019 at 1.30am UK
Brazil
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Paraguay
 
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Preview: Brazil vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brazil vs. Paraguay - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews the Copa America quarter-final between hosts Brazil and Paraguay in Porto Alegre, including team news and predicted lineups.
By , Senior Reporter | 2mo

Tournament hosts Brazil take on Paraguay at Arena do Gremio on Friday with a place in the semi-finals of the Copa America on the line.

The Selecao finished top of Group A, despite a couple of underwhelming performances to kick things off, while Paraguay squeezed through as one of the best third-placed sides.


Brazil


Brazil were booed during their opening two matches - a disjointed 3-0 win over Bolivia and a goalless draw with Venezuela - but they turned on the style in their final group outing.

Peru were the unfortunate victims as Tite's men clicked into gear, albeit after another slow start in the opening 10 minutes, to claim a resounding 5-0 victory in Sao Paulo.

Casemiro and Roberto Firmino profited from some questionable defending to put the hosts two goals in front with less than a quarter of the match played, and further goals followed from the impressive Everton, skipper Dani Alves and substitute Willian.

Tite's decision to shake up his attack paid off, with Everton showing exactly why he is so highly regarded in Brazil. Gabriel Jesus did not take his chance, though, as he was the least effective of the Selecao's attacking players in an unfamiliar right-sided role.

Brazil have already made it further than they did three years ago when crashing out at the group stage, and they are now partaking in their 10th quarter-final since the introduction of the current format in 1993.

They may have struggled to win over their supporters in the group stage, but the home team registered the most shots (58) and faced fewer than any other side (19).

However, the level of opposition will gradually improve over the remaining fortnight of the tournament, with the likes of Chile, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia also making it through.

The Selecao have yet to concede in this year's Copa America - their longest-such run in the competition since 1997 - and after finding the right balance in attack, Brazil will be confident of lifting the trophy for the first time in 12 years.

Recent form in Copa America: WDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDW


Paraguay


Despite failing to win any of their three group matches, suffering a 1-0 loss to Colombia in the last of them, Paraguay's two points were enough to take them through to the last eight by virtue of having a slightly better goal difference than Japan.

Los Guaranies have been given a huge reprieve and they will now have their sights set on pulling off a huge upset against a side ranked 33 places above them in the latest FIFA rankings.

Paraguay's two draws came in contrasting circumstances, as they were pegged back from two goals ahead against Qatar, before taking a point off Argentina in their next match.

Eduardo Berizzo was disappointed to only claim a draw from that match, though, as Derlis Gonzalez had a penalty saved by Argentina keeper Franco Armani.

Other results in the final set of round-robin fixtures went their way and now Paraguay are the first team to progress past the group stage of the Copa America with only two points, since three points for a win was introduced in 1995.

Expectations may not be high, but Paraguay know exactly what it takes to frustrate Brazil on the big stage, having gone four games without defeat against them in this competition.

In fact, Los Guaranies have knocked Brazil out of the Copa America at the quarter-final stage on penalties in their two most recent meetings, including in 2011 when finishing runners-up and 2015 when reaching the semi-finals.

Recent form in Copa America: DDL
Recent form (all competitions): LDWDDL


Team News


Holding midfielder Casemiro is suspended for picking up two yellows in the group stage and Fernandinho is carrying an injury, so Napoli midfielder Allan is expected to get the nod alongside Arthur.

Tite was pressured into handing Everton a start against Peru following his impressive cameos from the bench in Brazil's first two matches, and the talented forward did not disappoint.

David Neres and Richarlison dropped out to make way for Everton and Jesus, but one of those players could return for this match in place of Manchester City striker Jesus, who missed a late penalty last time out.

Brazil boasted six of the seven players with the most completed passes in the group stages - Marquinhos (219), Thiago Silva (206), Alves (193), Arthur (177), Casemiro (170) and Filipe Luis (170).

Despite mixed results in the group stage, with Paraguay performing better than the scorelines suggest, Berizzo is likely to stick with his 4-4-1-1 formation.

Newcastle United's club-record signing Miguel Almiron set up goals in his side's first two matches but was shackled by Colombia, managing just one shot of any note across the 90 minutes.

Oscar Cardozo should also retain his place just ahead of Almiron, meanwhile, and Richard Sanchez - on target against Argentina - is also in contention to start.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Luis; Arthur, Allan; Richarlison, Coutinho, Everton; Firmino

Paraguay possible starting lineup:
Fernandez; Piris, Alonso, Gomez, Arzamendia; Gonzalez, Rodrigo Rojas, Sanchez, Matias Rojas; Almiron, Cardozo


Head To Head

Brazil may have a poor recent record with Paraguay in this competition, but they have lost only two of their 38 home matches against them in all competitions.

Those defeats were in August 2002 and May 1949 - an international friendly and a Copa America clash respectively.

The most recent encounter between the sides in March 2017 finished 3-0 to Brazil, with Neymar and Philippe Coutinho on target in the World Cup qualifier.



We say: Brazil 2-0 Paraguay

Brazil have bad memories of facing Paraguay, but this match gives them a shot at redemption. The Selecao looked back to their best against Peru and they need to replicate that performance on Friday if they are to make it to the semis for the first time since 2007.


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