Brazil will look to make it two wins in a row when they host Venezuela at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador in the 2019 Copa America group stage.
Coming into this year’s Copa America as one of the favourites, Brazil didn’t disappoint in their opening fixture, thumping Bolivia 3-0 in Sao Paulo to reach the top of Group A. And they will look to move one step closer to reaching the quarterfinals as they meet Venezuela in their second group game.
Venezuela are coming on the back of a goalless draw with Peru, where they somehow managed to keep a clean sheet, especially after Luis Del Pino Mago’s sending off in the 75th minute. The draw keeps them in contention to qualify for the knockout stages, although they have to beat Brazil if they are to have any hopes of achieving the same.
Venezuela manager Rafael Dudamel will be hoping that his side will be able to maintain their defensive solidity and shut out the Brazilian attack that has been in great form of late. But, the Venezuelans also need to improve their finishing, knowing they will have minimal chances to score against Brazil, especially on their home turf.
Speaking of home turf, however, the pressure will be immense on coach Tite to deliver on home soil, especially after their FIFA World Cup debacle in 2014. But as mentioned earlier, a win could potentially seal them a place in the knockout stages while the opposition will hope for at least a point as they look to pip Peru and Bolivia and qualify to the next stage of the tournament.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at the two sides ahead of their highly anticipated match-up in the 2019 Copa America.
Team News & Tactics
Tite will be hoping for Philippe Coutinho to step up once again for a Neymar-less Brazil this midweek. And it is unlikely the 58-year-old will want to make too many changes to the side that secured a comfortable win against Bolivia in the opening match.
Alisson will continue to start over Manchester City star Ederson in goal while the experienced duo of Dani Alves and Filipe Luis will occupy the full-back slots. Two PSG centre-backs in Marquinhos and Thiago Silva have good chemistry between them, and they are the guaranteed starters at the heart of Brazil’s four-man backline.
The inclusion of both Fernandinho and Casemiro in the same lineup against Bolivia was a surprise to be sure. But, seeing how they impressed in the last game, it won’t be surprising to see them retain their place at the base of Brazil’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Allan will provide Tite with an additional option in central midfield, while Arthur Melo is doubtful.
David Neres will continue to deputise for the injured Neymar in the left-wing slot with Richarlison being deployed on the opposite flank. The Everton superstar can get into the box and use his physicality and aerial prowess to create scoring opportunities for himself, and that could be important against a disciplined Venezuelan defence this week.
Elsewhere, Philippe Coutinho will be deployed in the number ten role, just in behind the central striker Roberto Firmino, who could be preferred ahead of Gabriel Jesus and Everton, although both of them are in contention to make substitute appearances in the second half.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Luis; Fernandinho, Casemiro; Richarlison, Coutinho, Neres; Firmino.
Dudamel will be forced to make one change after Luis Mago’s dismissal against Peru. The left-back’s absence could see Roberto Rosales switching flanks and starting in the left-back position. Ronald Hernandez will occupy the opposite side.
The central defensive pairing of Jhon Chancellor and Mikel Villanueva will remain the same although they will need to be much more active this time around if they are to prevent the Brazilian attack this midweek.
Elsewhere, Dudamel is unlikely to change much, with Junior Moreno starting as the lone holding midfielder. However, the DC United star could expect better defensive support from the two central midfielders in Yangel Herrera and Tomas Rincon, especially considering the quality of the opposition. That means Venezuela will mainly be playing as a 4-5-1 or a flat 4-3-3.
Elsewhere, Jefferson Savarino will retain his place in the wide attacking role on the right flank, with Jhon Murillo starting on the opposite side. The Venezuelan attack will be spearheaded by West Brom forward Salomon Rondon. Fans will be expecting a better performance from the 29-year-old, who missed a few scoring opportunities in the goalless draw with Peru.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Farinez; Hernandez, Chancellor, Villanueva, Rosales; Savarino, Herrera, Moreno, Rincon, Murillo; Rondon.
- Brazil have recorded a 12-0 scoreline in their last three home matches.
- The Selecao have won 21 of their 25 meetings with Vinotinto.
- Brazil have won six of their seven Copa America meetings with Wednesday’s opponents, scoring 27 goals and conceding just two.
- Brazil have met Venezuela twice on home soil in Copa America tournaments, winning 6-0 in 1975 and 3-1 in 1989.
Player to Watch
With Neymar absent, the onus will once again be on Coutinho to deliver the goods in the final third. The Barcelona superstar scored a brace in the win over Bolivia, and the fans will expect him to continue his good form going into this game.
As iterated earlier, the 27-year-old will be deployed as the lone attacking midfielder in Brazil’s 4-2-3-1. He will look to provide goalscoring opportunities to the likes of Richarlison and Firmino, and it will be interesting to see how he links up with Neres out wide.
But one thing is for sure – preventing this ex-Liverpool attacker could be imperative for the Venezuelan defenders if they are to salvage anything from this game – making him the one to watch out for in this enticing fixture.
Brazil 3-0 Venezuela
Brazil have fared exceedingly well on their home turf, and they also boast a strong record against La Vinotinto. Their attacking prowess, coupled with an experienced backline might be too much for the opposition to handle. And thus, we expect the hosts and the tournament favourites to walk away with yet another comfortable 3-0 win in this one.