It will be a rematch of the 2011 Copa America quaterfinals when Brazil and Paraguay meet today at the Estadio Municipal de Concepción (5:30 Eastern). That match saw Paraguay emerge victorious (2-0) in penalties after Brazil missed all four kicks. However, that’s about the only measure of success La Albirroja have found against the Brazilians, it being their only win in the last 11 Copa America matches against the Seleção.
Without Neymar, though, this is a far less intimidating Brazilian squad. After the striker accepted his four-game suspension for attempting a head butt on Colombia’s Jeison Murillo, the offense certainly had a different rhythm against Venezuela. While Brazil still managed a 2-1 victory over the lowly La Vinotinto thanks to goals from Thiago Silvan and Roberto Firmino, they will be in much tougher against a Paraguay side that has yet to lose this tournament.
Paraguay showed a particularly strong resolve against Argentina, battling back from a 2-0 deficit against the tournament favorites to earn a draw. Under new coach Ramon Diaz, Paraguay is playing more like the team that made the last Copa America finals, not the squad that bottomed out of CONMEBOL qualifying for the World Cup.
“We are improving. We had a great second half against Argentina, our possession improved against Jamaica, and I hope this game is not an exception and we win,” said Osmar Molinas in a press conference.
Brazil’s back line allowed a shaky goal off a Venezuelan free kick in their last victory, and without the same punch up front, things could get complicated for the traditional power. Willian, Robinho, and Firmino played well together, but against a tighter Paraguay side, there will be little room for error on the back end.
The way these two teams are trending, it certainly appears to be another even matchup that could head for penalties. Take a chance on the draw.
Pick: Draw (+240).
(Photo Credit: By Tânia Rêgo/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)