Venezuela v Argentina – Maracanã at 20:00 GMT+1 live at Premier Sports
Venezuela’s 3-1 victory over Bolivia in the final round of Group A games at the Copa America sealed their spot in second place. La Vinotinto haven’t yet sparkled this summer but Raphael Dudamel’s men are making serene progress, extending their unbeaten run to seven games – a new record – whilst leaking just once.
Of course, Venezuela survived five goals via VAR in their opening encounters against Peru and Brazil which could easily have put a different complexion on their campaign. However, the South American outsiders are making serene development at senior level thanks to investment into youth infrastructure.
Two years ago Venezuela reached the final of the U20 World Cup and six of that squad have arrived in Brazil to make their mark. goalkeeper Wuilker Farinez is arguably the standout starlet, although the power of Salomon Rondon leading the line is an essential asset for La Vinotinto, as well as their pace out wide.
Dudamel’s implemented a system that sees Rondon act as the lynchpin to the attack, whilst also tinkering and improving the defence. The former goalkeeper has switched Mikel Villanueva from left-back to centre-back to give the side more backline pace, while centre-back partner Yordan Osorio has impressed.
Venezuela won’t be overawed
The results have been eye-catching. Venezuela have W6-D11-L4 since 2017 with five of those six successes arriving in their last 11 outings. The underdogs have scored in 10 of their past 12 outings and shipped fewer than two goals in all bar one of their most recent 11 encounters. There’s a lot to like.
During the above sample, plucky Venezuela beat Argentina convincingly 3-1 in Madrid back in a March friendly that featured Lionel Messi. La Vinotinto quite simply overpowered Argentina and took advantage of their lacklustre opponents’ lack of pace and agility, particularly in wide areas.
Expect Dudamel to target that same areas of the pitch as Venezuela seek their first semi-final appearance at the Copa America since 2011 – and it’s well worth backing the burgundy boys to run Argentina close by supporting La Vinotinto with a very generous +1.25 start on the Asian Handicap line at 1.70.
Argentina are vulnerable favourites
Argentina’s lack of defensive speed, mobility and quality has been a long-running problem. La Albiceleste have been going backwards since the 2014 World Cup and ambled through their pool without pulling up any trees as head coach Lionel Scaloni continues to make widespread changes to system and personnel.
The caretaker boss appears to have stumbled upon a more suitable formation that allows Messi more freedom but Argentina can look very exposed out of possession, particularly without a specialist defensive midfielder, or width should Scaloni settle on his 4-3-1-2 approach that worked against Qatar.
Overall, La Albiceleste’s performance data is reasonable from their first three fixtures, although Argentina are still generating far few goalscoring opportunities and that has to be worked on if they’re to cause Venezuela problems on Friday night. The suspicion is, it could be a grind.
Argentina have failed to beat Venezuela in their last three meetings and delivered victories in only half of their most recent 20 outings. So with that in mind, it’s a straightforward selection to oppose a cushy victory for the hot pre-match favourites in the second Copa America quarter-final contest.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Venezuela +1.25 at 1.700
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
The Venezuelans face a difficult task in the clash against La Albiceleste. Go put this Venezuela v Argentina Match Preview to work. Visit VOdds or bet on Eastbridge’s Skype betting through custserve01 now.