A place in the Copa America semi-finals will be on the line when Uruguay take on Peru at Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova on Saturday.
The quarter-finals of the 2019 Copa America are underway, with Brazil already booking their safe passage through to the penultimate stage of the competition. The final encounter in this round will see one of the pre-tournament favourites, Uruguay take the field when they lock horns with Peru in Salvador on Saturday.
Uruguay were not exactly at their fluent best in the group stage, having been held to a surprising 2-2 draw by an inexperienced Japan side. But, La Celeste consolidated their position well in the end, as a 1-0 win over Chile meant they sealed their place as the Group C winners ahead of La Roja.
Peru, on the other hand, nervously scraped through to the 2019 Copa America quarter-finals after having been unbeaten following the first two group stage matchdays. In the end, however, a 5-0 loss at the hands of Brazil did not hinder their chances of progression as they went through as the best third-placed team.
Peru were victorious the last time they clashed with Uruguay, with goals from Paolo Guerrero and Edison Flores inspiring them to a come-from-behind 2-1 win. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the Copa America encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Oscar Tabarez continues to be burdened by injury troubles, having already lost Matias Vecino early into the tournament. The Uruguay head coach is now sweating over the fitness of Diego Laxalt, who missed out against Chile due to minor hamstring injury.
Laxalt continues to remain a doubt due to his niggle and chances are Giovanni Gonzalez will continue in his stead when La Celeste face Peru. Meanwhile, the availability of Lucas Torreira and Cristhian Stuani is also doubtful due to their respective illnesses.
The team selection against Peru should largely be on similar lines as the last time Uruguay took the field. Fernando Muslera will man the goal, with the back four in front of him comprising of Martin Caceres, Gonzalez and the indomitable central defensive partnership of Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez.
Up ahead in midfield, Rodrigo Bentancur is a certain starter, with the 22-year-old acting as the deep lying playmaker for Uruguay. His partner in the midfield ought to be Torreira if he recovers from his illness, with Federico Valverde being the alternative.
Nicolas Lodeiro and Nahitan Nandez have comprised a fine support cast to star strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, and the duo should be the two wide midfielders, who will mainly look to overload the central areas in the final third. Upfront, there is no looking past Cavani and Suarez.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Muslera; Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Gonzalez; Nandez, Torreira, Bentancur, Lodeiro; Cavani, Suarez
Unlike his counterpart in the Uruguay dugout, Ricardo Gareca has a fully-fit squad at his disposal. But, after receiving a trouncing at the hands of Brazil, the Peru head coach could make some significant changes to his side so as to spark a reaction.
The output from the two wings has been rather underwhelming for La Blanquirroja and against Uruguay, Gareca could name two new wingers, with Christian Cueva and Andy Polo dropping down to the bench. In their stead, Andre Carrillo and Edison Flores should be named as the two wide men.
Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero though, should retain their spots in attack, and Guerrero, in particular, needs to step up and lead from the front after a meek performance against Brazil. In the middle of the park, Yoshimar Yotun is barely hanging on to his spot. But, the 29-year-old should continue in the holding midfield role, with Renato Tapia giving him company.
At the back, we could see one change from the Peru boss, with Carlos Zambrano returning. Zambrano will line up at the heart of the defence, with Luis Abram being his partner. Miguel Trauco and Luis Advincula ought to be the two full-backs, with Pedro Gallese taking his place in goal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun; Carrillo, Farfan, Flores; Guerrero
- Uruguay are the dominant force in their head-to-head record with Peru, having won 37 of the 66 meetings between the two sides (D13 L16).
- Peru though, were victorious the last time the two sides met, a result that ended a run of four straight victories for Uruguay.
- Peru can progress to the semi-finals for the third time in four editions, if they manage to beat Uruguay in Salvador.
- Peru have failed to find the back of the net in four of their last six fixtures.
- Uruguay, on the other hand, have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six games.
Player to Watch
Peru have been notoriously poor when it comes to being prolific customers in the final third. And, thus far in the 2019 Copa America, La Blanquirroja have managed to find the back of the net just three times. With the knockout stages beginning, there is very little margin for error for Ricardo Gareca’s men.
In such a situation, Peru need their captain Paolo Guerrero to step up and inspire what looks like an unlikely win over Uruguay leading up to the game. The veteran striker has made it a habit to come up with the goods in crunch situations and if he does so against La Celeste as well, a shock could be on the cards.
Uruguay 2-0 Peru
Peru have become the giant killers of South American football in recent years and have commanded more respect due to their strong showings. But, so far at the 2019 Copa America, they do not appear to be the wildcard threat that cannot be taken lightly by the bigger sides.
On the other end, there’s Uruguay, who boast arguably the most solid defence in the continent. The backline has looked almost impregnable at times, and it does not look like La Celeste are going to be breached on Saturday either.
Expect a comfortable outing for Oscar Tabarez & co. with Peru struggling to threaten them on a consistent basis. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 win for Uruguay to progress through to the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America, where they could meet Argentina.