Hosts USA take on tournament favourites Argentina in the first semifinal of the Copa America Centenario 2016 at the NRE stadium in Houston, Texas in the early hours of Wednesday, UK time.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the tournament opener, USA bounced back with back to back wins to qualify to the quarter finals as winners of the Group A. Then they see off a skilful Ecuador with a 2-1 win in the quarter finals, but had to withstand heavy pressure in the final stages of the match. The positives for USA football team is the stunning form of veteran striker Clint Dempsey, who scored in each of their last 3 wins and involved in every goal his team has scored in this tournament so far. USA are making their second Copa America semifinal appearance, the last time was in 1995, where they went on to finish at the 4th place.
Last year’s finalists Argentina had an easy route to the semifinal. They hardly gave their opponents a sniff in the matches so far and look extremely solid and organized in all departments. After the 4-1 quarter final win against Venezuela, they have scored 14 goals from 4 games in the tournaments, while conceded just 2. Tata Martino’s side look good for the title this term, but first they might deal with the hosts USA on Wednesday morning.
USA Team News:
Jurgen Klinsmann will be without three regular starters in the semifinal clash against Argentina.
Jermaine Jones picked up a red card against Ecuador and will be playing no part for the rest of the tournament. While Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya serve one match suspension after accumulating yellow cards.
Meanwhile, DeAndre Yedlin returns to the starting line-up after serving his one match suspension and could fit straight at the
USA Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Guzan – Johnson, Cameron, Brooks, Yedlin – Kitchen, Bradley, Beckerman, Zardes – Zusi, Dempsey.
Argentina Team News
Gaitan is suspended after accumulating 2 yellow cards in the tournament and Angel Di Maria will take his place after being rested in the 4-1 win against Venezuela.
Tata Martino has no other injury concerns and doesn’t not have to worry about card accumulations, as they will be reset for the semifinal and final.
Argentina Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Romero – Rojo, Funes Mori, Otamendi, Mercado – Mascherano, Banega, Fernandez – Di Maria, Messi, Higuain.
USA vs Argentina: Head-to-Head Stats
USA had won just once in 12 meetings against Argentina so far, while the Albiceleste were victorious in 9, with 2 being draws.
They had met at the Copa America on two occasions and share a win each. The latest being at the 2007 edition at Venezuela where Argentina won 4-1 in the Group C encounter. And USA were 3-0 winners when they met in the final group game for the 1995 edition in Uruguay.
The 3-0 win at Copa America 1995 is USA’s only win against Argentina, however the last two meetings between the sides were draws, with the last being a friendly in 2011.
USA vs Argentina: Prediction
USA handed a number of scoring chances to their opponents in their 2-1 quarter final win against Ecuador. Even though they started strongly, their defense were all over the place as the game progressed. At the same time, they looked good on the counter attacks, but squandered a number of chances. It was once again evident that if Clint Dempsey goes to sleep, they stand little chance to exert any authority on the game.
A team like Argentina do not require many chances to score goals and judging by their scoring form in the tournament, they could easily put two or three goals in the net. There is a big possibility of a similar score line as in 2015 Copa America semifinal where the thrashed Paraguay 6-1. Moreover, they haven’t won this tournament since 1993, but were runners up in three of the last four editions. Jurgen Klinsmann is missing three players here and I suspect they are in for a heavy hammering from the Albiceleste.
Exact Score Prediction: USA 1-3 Argentina.
- Argentina over 1.5 goals
- Argentina to win at Half Time
- Over 2.5 goals at FT