Argentina v Paraguay Betting Preview, Odds & Tips | 20/06/19
James Cormack (@jamesxyyx) previews Argentina v Paraguay and provides us with his best bets for this crucial Copa America group-stage clash by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: +3.995pts
Argentina v Paraguay Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 20/06/19
- Time: 01:30
- Venue: Estadio Mineirao (Belo Horizonte).
- Channel: Premier Sports
Argentina will be looking to get their Copa America campaign back on track and avoid further disappointment in a major tournament as they take on Paraguay on matchday two in group B.
La Albiceleste have been subject to two penalty shootout defeats to Chile in recent Copa America finals (2015, 2016) and in total, have lost in the final on four occasions since they last won the competition in 1993.
This Argentina team was subject to vast criticism at last year’s World Cup, a draw to Iceland and a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia in their first two group games meant they were four minutes from elimination before a Marcos Rojo winner against Nigeria sent Argentina through to the knockout phase. Their inferiority to the big sides was shown when they were beaten by France 4-3 in the last 16. Much of the blame for Argentina’s mess and dysfunction was blamed on Coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was sacked after Argentina’s exit from the tournament. He was replaced by his assistant, Lionel Scaloni, who had only retired from playing in 2015. Prior to this competition, Argentina had lost just twice in nine games under Scaloni’s leadership.
However, Argentina were; ineffective, out-thought, out-fought and too-reliant on some Messi magic that never came in their first game against Colombia, with Los Cafeteros condemning Scaloni’s side to a 2-0 defeat thanks to second-half goals from Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata.
With so many stars going forward, the big issue over the past few years has been who should play and in what position. The likes of Paulo Dybala haven’t got much of a look in for the national team, and despite being sidelined for much of the year in Turin thanks to the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s certainly a player that could provide a spark for this Argentina side, instead of being over-reliant on the ability of Lionel Messi.
Despite almost having too much going forward, there certainly are frailties in central-midfield and across the back-line in this Argentina squad. I question the ability of Guido Rodriguez, who usually plays in a midfield two with PSG’s Leandro Paredes, who has tremendous passing ability but still needs to prove himself on the biggest stage, not for Zenit in the Russian League. In defence, they have two talented full-backs in the form of Renzo Saravia and Nicolas Tagliafico, but, the centre is where they’re vulnerable. Man City’s Nicolas Otamendi is rash at times and as a striker, you’d always feel in the game against him due to his lapses in concentration, alongside him you have Fiorentina’s German Pezzella, who lacks experience in the national side and was poor against Colombia on Saturday night.
If you’re Paraguay, you must be saying to yourselves, if we can somewhat nullify Messi (by no means an easy task), then we can certainly sneak a 1-0 or 2-0 win on Thursday.
I’m sure Juan Carlos Osorio’s side will be kicking themselves after letting a two-goal lead slip against Qatar on matchday one, in the end being forced to settle for a 2-2 draw.
But, there’s no doubt that this Paraguay side has the talent to trouble a frail Argentine backline on Thursday. 36-year-old Oscar Cardozo, formerly of Benfica, scored from the penalty spot against Qatar, adding to his 242 career goals for club and country, whilst Miguel Almiron and Derlis Gonzalez provide this Paraguay side with innovation and creativity from attacking-midfield roles.
This is a must-win for Argentina if they want to get a favourable draw in the quarter-finals. The fact that 2 of the 3 third-placers also qualify means that even if they don’t win here, they’ll still have a chance of progressing with a victory against Qatar in their last game, but, this will mean they’ll likely face Argentina or Uruguay in the quarters.
Neither side have any new injury concerns from the first round of matches.
However, Derlis Gonzalez’s performance from the bench which included Paraguay’s second goal against Qatar should be enough to see him in the starting eleven for this one.
Similarly, Angel Di Maria’s ineffectiveness in the first half against Colombia may persuade Lionel Scaloni to utilise Rodrigo de Paul from the onset, the Udinese man fared much better on the left-hand side compared to Di Maria on Saturday.
Potential Argentina Starting XI: Armani, Saravia, Otamendi, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico, Lo Celso, Paredes, Rodriguez, de Paul, Messi, Aguero.
Potential Paraguay Starting XI: Fernandez, Valdez, Balbuena, Alonso, Azramendia, Ortiz, Rojas, Iturbe, Almiron, Gonzalez, Cardozo.
Head To Head
- All-time: Argentina-58, Draw-32, Paraguay-16.
- Paraguay won the last outing 1-0 back in 2016, but, the last time these two sides met in the Copa America, Argentina ran out 6-1 winners back in 2015.
Key Stats & Facts
- Argentina haven’t won this competition since 1993 and have lost to Chile on penalties in the last two Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.
- Paraguay have won this competition twice, in 1953 and 1979 . Since then, they have reached the final just once (2011) where they lost to Uruguay.
- Paraguay rank as the 36th best side in the world, with Argentina 11th.
- Since the start of the World Cup, Argentina have a record of: W2, D2, L5, against sides that currently rank in the top 40 in the world.
- Since the start of 2017, Paraguay have won just 3 of their 13 games.
- Argentina 5/11
- Draw 7/2
- Paraguay 15/2
Paraguay do have a couple of players that could cause this vulnerable Argentina side some problems, adding this to the fact that this is a footballing nation under pressure, needing a win to boost their chances of knockout qualification, I think we will see a close, cagey encounter on Thursday. But, despite the pressure on Argentina, I expect them to get over the line in this one. With the likes of Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero and, of course, Lionel Messi in this Argentina squad, they should have too much for this Paraguay team that has only kept two clean sheets in its last 13 games. Despite all their talent, Lionel Scolani’s men haven’t been playing with much fluency going forward which means I don’t think they’ll blow away Paraguay on Thursday.
In addition, I’m also tempted to back Draw/Argentina. This is mainly because of the way I think the game will play out. Paraguay will defend resolutely with Argentina tentative and nervous in the opening stages, before settling down and breaking through in the second-half. In the end, the quality amongst this Argentina side will prevail, whether it means Scolani turning to his bench to provide the goods or whether his usual starters, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero deliver.
Finally, I’m going to back Rodrigo de Paul to get on the scoresheet at over 3/1. I’m purely backing this bet because he impressed as a substitute against Colombia and I think he’ll replace Angel Di Maria down the left. The Udinese man enjoyed a fine season in Serie A, registering 17 G+A’s last season. His tally of 9 goals is not a bad return at all for a winger and he may be the man that Argentina turn to for a goal if the likes of Messi and Aguero struggle once more.