Copa America: Quarter Finals


Mexico V Paraguay (KO. 9.05pm)

After both Uruguay and Brazil ran out convincing winners last night, tonight’s quarter finalists will be hoping to make a statement of their own. Mexico face Paraguay tonight for a chance to meet, most likely, Argentina in the semi’s. This will be a tight game as both teams have shown good form so far in the competition. Mexico are solid and have a good defensive record so far (conceding 1 goal) with captain, Marquez, leading the line at the back. Paraguay, on the other hand, have the ability to score from nothing with only Argentina having scored more so far. Mexico are unbeaten so far and have no serious concerns ahead of the game. Coach Hugo Sanchez recalls Nery Castillo, rested for the draw with Chile, after his goalscoring performances in the opening two games proved he is a man for the big occasions. Paraguay will also bring back the big guns, including Manchester City target and joint-second placed goalscorer in the competition, Roque Santa Cruz.

Prediction: Mexico through to the semi’s as predicted in our pre-tournament guide.

Teams:

Mexico: O.Sanchez; I. Castro, R.Marquez, J. Magallon, F.Pinto; G.Torrado, J.Correa, F.Arce, A. Guardado; N. Castillo, J.Cacho.

Paraguay: A. Bobadilla; D.Veron, J.Caceres, P Da Silva, C. Rodriguez; C.Bonet, E.Barreto, C.Riveros, J.Santana; R. Santa Cruz, O.Cardozo.

Note: At the time of writing the game has just kicked off and it’s going disastrously for Paraguay who were reduced to ten men after just four minutes when goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla was sent off by referee Sergio Pezzotta. Joel Zayas has stepped into the breach for Paraguay in place of Jonathan Santana, clearly delighted at his 200 seconds of quarter-final action. Nery Castillo has scored from the resulting penalty and it will take a major upset to prevent Mexico from booking their semi-final berth.

Argentina V Peru (K.O. 23.50)

Tournament favourites Argentina take on Peru in the nights second game. Argentina, boasting a 100% record before tonights game, have justified their pre-tournament status so far and Peru are not expected to cause them too many problems in tonights quarter final. Argentina have racked up an impressive nine goals in their three games so far, eight of them coming in the first two games when the strongest team was played by Coach Alfio Basile. While Javier Mascherano proved the unlikely matchwinner last time out against Paraguay, a whole host of attacking options will be restored to the starting line-up tonight including Diego Milito who is expected to replace Hernan Crespo, scorer of three goals, one a penalty so good against Colombia that it ‘s ruled him out of tonight’s game. The likes of Tevez, Aimar and Messi are all in contention to return tonight, while others like Ayala and Mascherano will certainly be restored to the starting eleven.

Peru have lost each of their last six outings against Argentina and it’s no surprise that the bookies are offering around 14 or 15/1 on a shock result in Peru’s favour. However, Peru have shown some good potential in the tournament so far and in Claudio Pizarro and Jefferson Farfan, have two potential matchwinners in attacking positions. Pedro Garcia is available again after his sending off against Venezuela but Jhoel Herrera misses out after he was sent off in the final group game against Bolivia. Peru will be looking to return to the form which saw them hammer pre-tournament dark horses (and semi-finalists) Uruguay by three goals to nil. In the end, Pizarro’s 85th minute goal secured a draw against Bolivia and a place against Argentina, but we’ll have to side with the bookies here and go for an Argentina win.

Prediction: Argentina 3 Peru 1. (We’re also willing to bet readers there will be a sending off or two…..!)

Note: Torraddo and Castillo have added to Mexico’s lead: 3-0 at half-time.


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