James CookeBrazil vs Argentina, Tuesday July 2nd, 8:30 pm, Estadio Mineirao. The entire football world sits up and takes notice whenever Brazil and Argentina meet in a competitive fixture, and with a place in the Copa America final up for grabs, they don’t get much more competitive than this.
The entire football world sits up and takes notice whenever Brazil and Argentina meet in a competitive fixture, and with a place in the Copa America final up for grabs, they don’t get much more competitive than this.
It’s a game worthy of the final itself – even worthy of the World Cup final. Brazil and Argentina are two of the sport’s most evocative names, and possess some of the sport’s most exciting players. Even with Neymar missing for the hosts, it’s a mouth-watering contest.
While it’s true Argentina made a poor start to their tournament, they were the only quarter-finalists to so much as score a goal in their last eight encounter, putting two past Venezuela, with Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso on the scoresheet. The other three fixtures, including Brazil’s win over Paraguay, had to be settled via a penalty shootout.
It was a much better display from Lionel Scaloni’s side and the old adage is true – it’s not how you start a tournament that matters, it’s how you finish it. La Albiceleste did enough to get to the knockout stage and if their form is improving, it’s improving at the right time.
Gabriel Jesus, meanwhile, scored the decisive penalty for Brazil, having missed a spot kick against Peru only days earlier. That Tite’s side needed penalties was perhaps a surprise considering they were playing against 10 men for the final 30 minutes of the tie, but, to their credit, they were much improved in the second half after a hesitant first 45 minutes and could have wrapped up the game in normal time.
For all their attacking talent – not just Jesus but Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Everton – Brazil’s Copa America has been built on a solid defence. The Selecao haven’t conceded a goal in normal time in any of their four games so far, so Martinez, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi will need to be at their sparkling best to make the breakthrough.
Brazil’s stern backline suggests this won’t be a game full of goals, even with the brilliant forwards in the ranks of both teams. So the bookies should keep that in mind – a 2-1 Brazil win isn’t out of the question.
Brazil may have gone four games without conceding but they’ve not come up against opponents the quality of Argentina. And yet Tite’s side have a resolve about them that means, even if they do concede, they should have the strength – buoyed by home support – to push through.
Not a lot separates these two teams, on paper at least. Brazil started the tournament in better form, but Argentina improved greatly in their last match. Parity may well last until half time but by the final whistle, Brazil should have edged it.
Games between Brazil and Argentina are fairly evenly matched. Historically, there have been 45 wins for Brazil, 39 for Argentina and 26 draws.
Most recently, the sides met in 2018 in the annual friendly, the Superclasico de las Americas, with Brazil winning 1-0.
Argentina’s last win over Brazil came in the same competition a year earlier, also 1-0.
The teams’ last Copa America meeting was in the final of the 2007 tournament, when Brazil won 3-0 – in Brazil – with goals from Julio Baptista, a Roberto Ayala on goal, and Dani Alves – who will play in the 2019 fixture too.
Alves is not the only survivor of the last time Brazil and Argentina met in the Copa America – Messi played in that game as well.
Martinez’s goal added him to the group of players on two goals in the tournament so far – but only Martinez, Brazil pair Coutinho and Everton and Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas are still in the tournament.
Argentina’s win over Venezuela was held in the same stadium – the Maracana – as the 2014 World Cup final, when they were beaten by Germany.
Argentina haven’t won the Copa America since 1993, while Brazil’s last tournament victory was 2007.
Aspiring football journalist who realised he could put his vast knowledge towards gambling and making some money. With years spent on Football Manager, his boyhood obsession has carried over into his adult life and he's proven his mum that all that time spent playing a game wasn't to be wasted. A European football expert, James writes about anything on the continent and has began expanding his knowledge to other leagues in South America, Asia and the USA.