The Copa America has reached the semi-final stage and there is a mouth-watering Brazil versus Argentina clash to kick-off the last four games as the two South American heavyweights square off in Belo Horizonte.
Brazil to win in regular time @ 20/23
Hosts Brazil are the favourites but this will surely be a closely-fought contest in the early hours of Wednesday morning between two countries who have won the Copa America 22 times between them and have a long-standing rivalry.
It’s fair to say neither side have been at their very best in the tournament so far with Argentina, in particular, struggling through the group stage. Lionel Scaloni’s men were staring at a humiliating early exit after losing to Colombia and drawing with Paraguay but they just about edged through with a hard-fought 2-0 success over Qatar.
The quarter-final win over Venezuela (also 2-0) was another performance that left the Argentine fans nervous for long periods as substitute Giovani Los Celso’s goal that sealed the win only came in the 74th minute after Lautaro Martinez had again scored an early opener.
Lautoro Martinez to score anytime @ 7/2
Inter Milan forward Martinez has been the inspiration for La Albiceleste since being brought into the side and appears to be the in-form man they might need to rely on against Brazil, even if Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Manchester City ace Sergio Aguero are also in the team.
Backing Martinez to score anytime again, on offer at 7/2, seems like a wise move.
Brazil have not lost for a year since exiting the World Cup in Russia at the quarter-final stage but have stuttered at times in the Copa America, drawing 0-0 with Venezuela in the group stage after easily seeing off Bolivia 3-0. They then outclassed Peru 5-0 but had to rely on penalties to get past Paraguay in the last eight after being held to another goalless draw.
Gremio star Everton has caught the eye in the competition with two goals and is available at 16/5 to score first, while Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino (4/1 to score first, 37/20 anytime) and Man City’s Gabriel Jesus (7/2 to score first, 7/4 anytime) are the obvious other choices to look at in the goalscorer markets for Tite’s side.
Argentina have not won in Brazil since 1998 and, even though it’s expected they will push the Selecao all the way in the semi, more disappointment is predicted for the visitors.
Chile v Peru – Chile to win by one goal @ 43/20
The second semi-final does not have quite the prestige as the first game but Peru against Chile is huge for both countries as they chase unlikely Copa America glory.
Peru have won the Copa America twice, but not since 1975, and are the outsiders at 33/10 to win in 90 minutes against a Chile side (10/11) that began the competition well with wins over Japan (4-0) and Ecuador (2-1) before losing their final group game to Uruguay.
Both teams progressed into the semis courtesy of a penalty shoot-out wins after 0-0 draws against Colombia and Uruguay respectively. Therefore, it’s tempting to suggest more spot-kick drama awaits in Porto Alegre but Chile – who should have more big-game experience with Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal in their ranks – are tipped to win by one goal.
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