Venezuela v Peru – Arena do Grêmio at 20:00 GMT+1 live at Eleven Sports
Venezuela and Peru get their 2019 Copa America campaigns up and running on Saturday night in Porto Alegre, well aware that a positive result is key if either nation has serious desires to make a dent in this summer’s competition.
Being housed alongside tournament favourites and hosts Brazil in Group A, the pair know the likelihood is they’ll be battling it out for a runners-up berth, or potentially a third-placed finish to sneak into the Copa’s knockout stage. With the two teams very well-matched, an interesting and intriguing encounter awaits.
Venezuela and Peru played out two 2-2 draws in their recent World Cup qualifiers meetings ahead of 2018, although the duo were poles apart in the final finishing positions. La Vinotinto propped up the 10-team table with just two victories, whilst La Blanquirroja finished fifth and securing qualification.
Baseball is king in Venezuela and although the social and political crisis continues to headline at home, the nation’s football side has been making steady progress under the guidance of Rafael Dudamel. The former keeper has worked hard to make La Vinotinto a tougher prospect to beat with reasonable success.
The Copa America’s historically-worst performers have risen to an all-time high of 29th in the FIFA rankings, benefitting from the success of their various underage sides. Venezuela have W5-D9-L4 since the start of 2017 with four of those victories arriving in their most recent eight outings.
La Vinotinto remain rather erratic and unpredictable but there’s no doubt their fast, direct counter-attacking style and lightning transitions can hurt opposition outfits with Salomon Rondon headlining an eye-catching forwardline.
Peru earned plenty of plaudits on their return to the World Cup stage last summer after a 36-year absence. La Blanquirroja were unable to negotiate a path to the knockout stages in Russia but Ricardo Gareca’s men won plenty of plaudits. La Blanquirroja are now keen to make their mark in Brazil.
Results have been mixed over the past 12 months – losing six of their 10 games – prompting suggestions Gareca’s 4-2-3-1 system had become too predictable. But the Argentine has built a squad with pace, panache and potential with particular strength in forward areas, suggesting they’ll have some joy against Venezuela.
Veteran forwards Paolo Guerrero remains key up top but he’ll be ably supported by the exciting trio of Edison Flores, Cristian Cueva and Andre Carrillo behind.
The betting angle
Both Venezuela and Peru have their strengths in the final-third of the field and that’s characterised by their unflattering clean sheet returns over the past year. Collectively, the two teams have managed to silence just six of their 20 opponents, suggesting Both Teams To Score is a touch overpriced at 2.15.
This selection proved profitable in over half of their combined World Cup qualifiers, as well as easily landing in both of their previous two meaningful matches.
BTTS Betting Recommendation: Both Teams To Score YES at 2.150
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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