Argentina take on Venezuela in the third quarter final of the Copa America Centenario 2016 at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Saturday evening.
Argentina eased through the group games with three wins out of three to qualify to the quarter finals of Copa America 2016 as group winners. There were plenty of doubts on this team’s chances at this year’s competition mainly due to the injury to Lionel Messi. But they had proved everyone wrong on their misconceptions that they are a one man team. They won their toughest group game against Chile 2-1, much convincingly without Messi playing any part in it. And won the next two games scoring a-plenty against weaker opponents like Panama 5-0 and Bolivia 3-0, where the Balon d’Or winner played his part as second half substitute.
Venezuela are a team that beat the odds to qualify from the group that contained two tournament favourites Mexico and Uruguay. They are unbeaten in the group stages after earning narrow 1-0 wins against Jamaica and Uruguay and holding group leaders Mexico to a 1-1 draw. Rafael Dudamel managed side came into this tournament on the back of a terrible run of results, where they managed just 1 win from their previous 15. They are one of the weakest teams in the tournament and got past the group stages of the tournament only twice before. That was in 2007, where they eliminated in the quarter finals and 2011 in Argentina, where they lost the third placed match to Peru.
Argentina vs Venezuela: Predicted Line-ups:
Argentina (4-3-3): Romero – Rojo, Funes Mori, Otamendi, Mercado – Mascherano, Banega, Fernandez – Di Maria, Messi, Higuain.
Venezuela (4-4-2): Hernandez – Rosales, Angel, Vizcarrondo, Feltscher – Guerra, Rincon, Figuera, Penaranda – Rondon, Martinez.
Argentina vs Venezuela: Head-to-Head Stats
Argentina had lost only once to Venezuela in the 15 matches between them so far, with 14 wins in their name and a goal aggregate of 45-5.
Venezuela’s only win against Argentina came in the World Cup 2014 qualifying stages at home on October 2011, which ended 1-0 at full time. The sides met only once after, which is their latest meeting, which Argentina won 3-0 on March 2013.
Argentina vs Venezuela: Prediction
Gerardo Martino’s men are playing like a Champion team despite the absence of their star player Lionel Messi. It is still unknown whether he starts this match, as he is yet to fully recover from the back injury. With or without him, Argentina look at the top of their form, especially after scoring 10 goals in the tournament so far. Their minimum target is to reach the final once again.
Argentina are on a 7 match winning run and are undefeated in their last 9. They had only conceded 2 goals in their last 9; that is 7 clean sheets. Expect them to score at least 2 goals here, despite Venezuela being a team focused in defending that will frustrate the opponents.
I am certainly backing Argentina to progress to the semi-finals with a big win here, that too by keeping a clean sheet.
Exact Score Prediction: Argentina 3-0 Venezuela.
- Argentina to win
- HT – Argentina
- Argentina, Over 1.5 goals.