Argentina will play Paraguay in Wednesday’s 2015 Copa America semi-finals. While you would be safe to describe Argentina as the superior footballing nation, their two Copa America trophies puts them level with Paraguay. Well, this is the year when Argentina could finally move ahead.
Emerging victorious against Paraguay will not come easily for the current iteration of Argentina. The side has displayed reasonable strength in defence and can control possession, but they have just not displayed enough creativity or guile in the attacking third.
Leo Messi and Sergio Agüero both scored when these two sides met in the group stages. With both goals coming in the first half, it was expected that Argentina would comfortably win the game. However, Paraguay rattled their confidence by levelling the match and stealing a point in the second half.
Argentina head coach Gerardo Martino has persisted with a tactical strategy where Messi has been removed from the role of false nine and has been playing on the right side of attack, where he has played so well of late for Barcelona.
In theory, the decision to reposition Messi is a sound one, given that it leaves room for a striker to play in the team. Argentina have Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, and Carlos Tevez to choose from, and that final name was chosen ahead of Agüero against Colombia. But Tevez did little to improve the Argentinian attack.
Paraguay have played with reasonable defensive strength, conceding thee goals in their three group stage games. However, their defence should be of little concern to an Argentine side littered with attacking talent. Messi has delivered just one goal so far in the tournament, but he is too good to be bottled up for any longer.
Tip one: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.66
Tip two: Argentina @ 1.45
Finding good bets for this game is pretty tough, but under 2.5 goals at 1.66 could happen at the stage of the tournament where teams defend solidly to avoid losing. Argentina winning in 90 minutes is worth 1.45, which could happen given Paraguay’s lack of quality players.