Brazil v Argentina – Mineirão at 01:30 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
Brazil and Argentina renew rivalries and South American hostilities on Tuesday night as the two South American powerhouses lock horns in the Copa America semi-final from Belo Horizonte. The pair haven’t crossed swords in a major tournament since 2007, making this final-four meeting unmissable for neutrals.
Tournament hosts Brazil are fair favourites to progress with victory in 90 minutes. The Selecao survived penalties against Paraguay in the quarter-finals to reach this stage; despite often underwhelming since last summer’s World Cup, Tite’s troops have dominated the performance data metrics from the outset.
The Samba Boys have suffered a solitary competitive home loss since 1975, been beaten just twice in 40 fixtures under Tite and conceded only 10 goals in over 60 hours of action under the current boss. Across four fixtures this summer, Brazil have allowed only 0.94 Expected Goals (xG) and faced just five shots on-target.
The Selecao have Casemiro available again for the midweek match-up but they’ll need to improve their collective approach in the final-third with Roberto Firmino’s starting place potentially under threat. Nevertheless, Brazil should have more space and opportunity here than in their four previous outings.
Argentina’s approach key
Argentina settled on a 4-3-1-2 in their last two encounters – both victories to nil – and caretaker coach Lionel Scaloni must now decide whether to stick or twist. La Albiceleste are both individually and as a team inferior to their opponents, but the underdogs boast the firepower to take advantage if Brazil over-commit.
However, their lack of mobility and ability in defence, plus the concern of potentially having three forwards caught high up the field, could leave Scaloni’s side vulnerable. What’s more, Argentina don’t possess a specialist defensive midfielder, suggesting attack could be the best form of defence.
Argentina have taken baby steps in the right direction over the past two matches but supporters would be lying if they said La Albiceleste were a convincing prospect. The reality is, Scaloni’s men might be stuck between a rock and a hard place in their approach to this tie and that lack of clarity could prove decisive.
The betting angles
The first goal in Brazil’s games is always vital and should the Selecao strike before half-time, you’d expect the Samba Boys to succeed with room to spare. Tite’s troops are now odds-on favourites to take the Copa America title and so quotes of 1.87 to overcome a -0.50 Asian Handicap hurdle appeal here.
Elsewhere, it could be worth supporting goals with a low total line set. The introduction of extra-time pushes the prospect of penalties back and should, in theory at least, ensure sides play with more ambition. Plus, since 1993, 85% of semi-final Copa America clashes have produced at least two goals. With that in mind, I’m happy to have an interest in Over 2 Goals at 1.750.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Brazil -0.50 at 1.870
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.00 goals at 1.750
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.