Copa America 2011: Brazil versus Paraguay Preview
Copa America 2011 3rd Quarter Final
Brazil vs Paraguay
Venue: La Plata
Date: July 18, Time: 12:30 AM (IST)
With little over a week passing since they last met, five times World Champion Brazil face a rematch with Paraguay this Sunday in the Quarter-Finals of the Copa América 2011. In their group stage match, Brazil ware a minute away from defeat before substitute Fred saved the blushes.
After lackluster performances in their opening two matches, Brazil sparked into life against Ecuador with a fine attacking display which helped the defending champions book their spot in the Quarter-Finals with a 4-2 victory.
In spite of that result, The Seleção has failed to live up to expectation in the competition and will need a marked improvement in the coming matches. The defense has to be stronger and with Maicon being selected over Dani Alves in the match against Ecuador, the problem seems to have been solved to an extent. Maicon strengthen the back and often charge upfront with his speedy run.
Neymar da Silva and Alexandre Pato, the key men for Brazil go into the quarter finals with great confidence following the thrashing of Ecuador. Mano Menezes is expected to stick with the same XI that started against Ecuador for tonight’s encounter. AC Milan star Thiago Silva is a doubt for the Brazilians and will undergo a late fitness test. Luizao or David Luiz will replace him the heart of defense, should he not recover.
Though Paraguay finished third in Group B behind Venezuela and Brazil after drawing all of their group stage matches, they were just seconds away from topping the group before they concede a late equalizer against Venezuela, squandering a 3-1 lead in the last 5 minutes.
Los Guaraníes have promised much at the competition but late lapses in concentration at the back have cost the side dear, highlighted by their concession of last minute equalizers to both Brazil and Venezuela. The two time champions certainly have the quality to trouble Menezes’ boys but will need to be on top form if they wish to progress to the semi-final stages.
Gerardo Martino also have injury doubts over star striker Roque Santa Cruz, who strained a leg muscle before half time in the Venezuela game and had to be replaced by Nelson Haedo Valdez.
It will be a hotly contested battle at the Estadio Ciudad de La Plata in Buenos Aires between these two South American giants. A narrow victory is predicted for the Selecao. Otherwise, a draw is also very likely. However, the Paraguayans have potential to cause a shock elimination of the Selecao from the tournament.
Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, David Luiz, Andre Santos; Lucas Leiva, Ramires; Robinho, Ganso, Neymar; Alexandre Pato
Paraguay: Villar; Piris, Da Silva,Veron, Torres; Barreto, Ortigoza, Riveros, Estigarribia; Santa Cruz, Barrios
Last Three Matches
14 Jul 2011 Brazil 4 – 2 Ecuador 13 Jul 2011 Paraguay 3 – 3 Venezuela
9 Jul 2011 Brazil 2 – 2 Paraguay 9 Jul 2011 Brazil 2 – 2 Paraguay
3 Jul 2011 Brazil 0 – 0 Venezuela 3 Jul 2011 Paraguay 0 – 0 Ecuador