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Preview: Brazil vs. Venezuela - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Brazil vs. Venezuela - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Copa America clash between Brazil and Venezuela, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

The 2021 Copa America gets underway on Sunday night with hosts Brazil taking on northern neighbours Venezuela at the Estadio Nacional de Brasilia.

As the clear favourites coming into this tournament, Brazil will expect to pick up three points this weekend as they look to defend the title they won back in 2019.

Match preview

In what has been an unprecedented last few weeks in South American football, Brazil were appointed hosts of this summer's tournament at the last minute due to unrest in Colombia and coronavirus in Argentina.

To make matters even more extraordinary, many in the Brazil camp, most notably skipper Casemiro and talisman Neymar, appeared to advocate boycotting the competition altogether due to the impact that the virus has had in Brazil itself.

Yet these obstacles were overcome and now Brazil look determined to achieve big things this summer in their hunt for back-to-back Copa America titles.

However, in order to achieve anything, head coach Tite will have to find a way past a Venezuela team that can definitely do some damage if they are in the mood.

The last time these two sides met in World Cup qualifying in November 2020, the Selecao narrowly beat Venezuela 1-0, with Roberto Firmino scoring the only goal of the game.

Venezuela come into this tournament on the back of a poor run of form that has seen them win just one out of their last six games.

Making things more difficult for La Vinotinto is the fact that the nation's all-time top-scorer Salomon Rondon did not make the squad this year, meaning the team will certainly be diminished in the final third.

Earlier this month, Venezuela managed to take just one point from two World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Uruguay respectively, with La Vinotinto losing 3-1 against Bolivia.

Venezuela are currently ninth in the qualifying table, a spot above last-placed Peru on goal difference alone.

Head coach Jose Peseiro will hope his side can up the ante this summer and put their poor form behind them.

Brazil form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Venezuela form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

Team News

Having won seven games on the bounce, Tite is keenly aware of his side's attributes, and it is unlikely that there will be any major shocks in the starting 11 on Sunday.

Neymar and Firmino are expected to lead the line, with Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus just behind the front two, while Marquinhos and Eder Militao will likely sit in front of Alisson Becker between the sticks.

Peseiro opted for a back five against Uruguay this month and the decision appeared to pay off with La Celeste failing to find a way past the defence.

It is likely that Peseiro will do the same again on Sunday, relying on defensive rigidity and counterattacking football to see La Vinotinto over the line.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Danilo, Militao, Marquinhos, Sandro; Casemiro, Fred; Jesus, Firmino, Neymar, Richarlison

Venezuela possible starting lineup:
Graterol; Gonzalez, Ferraresi, Chancellor, Villanueva, Rosales; Savarino, Moreno, Rincon, Castillo; Martinez

We say: Brazil 1-0 Venezuela

It would be easy to call a resounding victory for Brazil, but the likeliness is that this will be a much more cagey affair and the Selecao may struggle against a resolute Venezuela defence. It will likely come down to a moment of magic from Neymar and co.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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