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Jun 17, 2021 at 10pm UK

Cuadrado (77'), Uribe (82')
Diaz (90+4')

Aristeguieta (51'), La Mantia (55'), Herrera (77'), Andres Martinez (81'), Cumana (86')

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

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

In the second round of fixtures in this year's Copa America, neighbours Colombia and Venezuela square off in Goiania in Group A action on Thursday.

Colombia kicked off their campaign with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Ecuador, while their opponents will aim to bounce back after a heavy 3-0 defeat to pre-tournament favourites Brazil in their opening game.

Match preview

Colombia made an ideal start to the tournament on Monday, as they defeated Ecuador 1-0 in Cuiaba.

Edwin Cardona netted the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time, with Colombia seeing out the victory despite their opponents being the better side for the majority of the encounter.

That stretched their unbeaten run to three games in all competitions, having previously picked up positive results against Peru and Argentina in World Cup Qualifying action at the beginning of June.

Reinaldo Rueda's men started with a dominant 3-0 win over Peru, as Yerry Mina, Mateus Uribe and Luis Diaz all got on the scoresheet, before a goal from Luis Muriel and a 94th-minute Miguel Borja equaliser saw them pick up a commendable point after a 2-2 draw with a heavily-fancied Argentina side.

Those results saw them move up to fifth spot in their qualifying group, although Colombia will focus on the Copa America for now.

Having not reached the final since they lifted their first trophy in 2001, La Tricolor will have their sights set on another victory on Thursday to boost their qualification bid, as they look to go deep into the tournament and improve on their recent continental performances.

They take on a Venezuela side who will be desperate to put their first points on the board after a heavy defeat last time out.

La Vinotinto took on hosts Brazil in the opening game of the Copa America on Sunday, with their opponents coming out as comfortable winners.

Marquinhos opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, and Neymar doubled their lead from the penalty spot soon after the hour mark before he rounded the keeper to set up Gabriel Barbosa for a third in the dying minutes.

That meant they have now gone six games without a win in all competitions, although a goalless draw with Uruguay in their final game before the tournament did provide reason to be positive.

With four sides set to qualify out of the five-team group, Venezuela will likely find themselves competing with the likes of Ecuador and Peru for the final few spots if Brazil and Colombia continue to push ahead, meaning Thursday is a great opportunity for them to gain an edge before they take on those two sides in the final two games.

Colombia Copa America form:
  • W

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

Venezuela Copa America form:
  • L

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

Team News

Despite the pair notching up 37 goals and 19 assists combined for Atalanta in Serie A this season, Rueda opted to leave both Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel on the bench for Colombia's opening Copa America game, instead selecting Miguel Borja and Santos Borre in attack.

He did bring Zapata off the bench though, and he could be deployed from the start alongside Borja on Thursday, while Muriel will also be pushing for a spot in the XI after he was left as an unused substitute.

Behind the front two, Colombia boast a strong midfield, with Juan Cuadrado operating on the right-hand side and Wilmar Barrios shielding the defence, while Porto duo Mateus Uribe and Luis Diaz offer plenty of threat going forward alongside Edwin Cardona who netted their opening goal of the tournament.

At the back, Rueda could stick with the same defensive line after a clean sheet last time out, preferring Oscar Murillo over Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Davinson Sanchez to partner Everton's Yerry Mina.

Venezuela have been hit by a coronavirus breakout at the beginning of the tournament, with over a dozen players and staff testing positive, leaving a squad of just 18 players for the opening clash against Brazil.

Arguably the biggest loss is attacker Josef Martinez, who may have been his nation's key man having netted 74 goals in 88 appearances for Atlanta United.

Based on the limited options, manager Jose Peseiro may be forced to stick with an unchanged side, with Fernando Aristeguieta leading the line, supported by wingers Jose Martinez and Cristian Casseres, and Luis Mago, Francisco La Mantia and Luis Martinez playing at the heart of a back five.

Colombia possible starting lineup:
Ospina; Munoz, Mina, Murillo, Moreno; Cuadrado, Uribe, Barrios, Cardona; Borja, Zapata

Venezuela possible starting lineup:
Graterol; Gonzalez, Mago, La Mantia, L Martinez, Cumana; J Martinez, Moreno, Manzano, Casseres; Aristeguieta

We say: Colombia 2-0 Venezuela

While Colombia would come into this game as favourites in normal circumstances anyway, the major hits to Venezuela's squad should mean they have too much of a hill to climb to defy the odds.

Colombia will be on a high after their opening win, while their opponents may feel the opposite after a defeat, and we see both sides continuing the way they started.

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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