Estadio La Portada, Chile .
14th June 2015, 3:00 A.M IST
Group B matches of Copa Americaa s begins with Uruguay taking on invitee Jamaica. However the other two teams in the group are not weaklings, as competition favorites Argentina and one of the toughest teams in South America, Paraguay meet in a clash of giants.
Team tactics & Line-upa s
Argentina as per Fifa rankings is the strongest team in this competition. Even after their sterling performance in the World cup, Argentina has always had the reputation in recent years to have a strong squad with poor synergy. However, with most of their players coming back from successful club campaigns, the Argentine dressing room will be high on morale and ready to progress in search of their 15th Copa America title.
With a huge litter to pick from Tata Martino will have to tough task of asking some of the best footballers to sit on the bench. On goal will be Sampdoriaa s Romero. The defense will be lead by Manchester City veteran Demichelis and Manchester United target Otamendi. Zabaleta and Rojo will complete the back four on the right and left respectively.
The three midfield positions will be occupied by Barcelonaa s Mascherano, assisting him in a deeper midfield role will be Sevillaa s Ever Banega, while Pastore will operate on the left as a play-maker. Di Maria having a sub-par season at United, is likely to start on the bench. Pastorea s inclusion also means that his teammate Lavezzi will be benched.
Tata Martino will employ three strikers for this game. Messi will operate on his favorite right side. Whilst Tevez, who played against Messi in the the Champions League final will operate from the left. The central striker role finally reserved for the Premier League Top scorer Sergio Aguero.
Predicted Line up (4-3-3): Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Otamendi, Rojo; Pastore, Mascherano, Banega; Messi, Aguero, Tevez.
Trying to redeem themselves from failure to qualify in the recently held World Cup, Paraguay are no pushover teams. However with the lack of a star studded line up similar to Argentina, Paraguay must rely on their team chemistry and hard work to upset
Thirty seven year old Justo Villar will be on goal for Paraguay. Marcos Caceres will play as a right back while Samudio will play on the left wing. Central defenders Paulo Da Silva and Balbuena will make up the central back pairing to complete the tough Paraguayan defense.
Nelson Valdez will operate on the right Wing while Richard Ortiz will play center midfield alongside Victor Caceres, the brother of Marcos, who will occupy the central defensive midfield role. Mainly assigned to block of all through balls from Pastore, Victor Caceres game will have a direct impact on Paraguaya s performance. Nestor Ortigoza will play the number ten role and will look to run directly at and keep Mascherano busy and off their captain SantaCruz. Raul Bobadilla playing on the left wing will complete the 5 man midfield.
Roque Santa Cruz will lead the team as captain and lone striker. With a supreme aerial ability, the former Blackburn player will look to trouble the Argentine defence. If Santa Cruz has a good game and scores a goal or two within the first 20 minutes, then Paraguay have a chance of defeating Argentina.
Predicted Line Up ( 4- 5-1): Villar; M. Caceres, Da Silva, Balbuena, Samudio; Valdez, Ortiz, V Caceres, Ortigoza, Bobadilla; Santa Cruz;
- Only Uruguay has more number of Copa America titles than Argentina
- Argentina have won 3 and drawn 1 in the last 5 games against Paraguay
- Paraguay have won only 15 of their 103 games against Argentina
- Paraguay have only two Copa America Titles
Player to Watch
With a brilliant set of players to choose from either teams, it would be hard to concentrate on one player. However, with the worlda s best footballer stepping onto the pitch just after a successful campaign with his club Barcelona, all eyes will be on Messi with great anticipation of another wonder goal like the one against Atletico Bilbao. With recent news of Messi being accused of tax fraud, it will be a test for Messi to block out his personal problems and put up a performance at par with the one for his country in the World Cup finals.
Argentina 2-0 Paraguay
Although Paraguay have a reputation for spoiling the plans of bigger teams in the past, Argentina should have this one in the bag, especially after being considered one of the favorites to win the competition. The lethal combination of Tevez, Aguero and Messi will be a little too hard to handle for the Paraguay defense. Argentina to score one on either of the two very intense and attacking halves.