This weekend’s Copa America matches will finalise the standings in Group A and Group B, and there is plenty to play for in both groups.
Brazil need to beat Peru to guarantee top spot, whilst defeat could leave the home favourites needing to be one of the best two third-place finishers to make the quarter-finals, if Venezuela beat Bolivia.
A win for Argentina looks a must for them to qualify for the knockout stages, as they currently sit bottom of Group B after losing to Colombia and drawing with Paraguay. Even a win may leave them also needing to be one of the best third place finishers, if Paraguay beat a Colombian side that is guaranteed to top the group regardless of the scores of the final two matches.
Peru vs Brazil (Saturday)
Peru have beaten Brazil just once this century in 11 matches, but that win came in the last group-match of the 2016 Copa America. Peru won 1-0 to finish top of the group and ended Brazil’s chances of Copa America success in a year where there were four groups and only the top-two teams in each of them progressed to the knockout stages.
Brazil have won the other three most recent matches between the two sides, beating Peru to nil both home and away in World Cup qualifying, whilst they beat them 2-1 in the 2015 Copa America group stages.
Results so far in this year’s Copa America suggest there is less between the two sides than the 18 places in the world rankings. Both teams have drawn 0-0 with Venezuela, whilst Brazil beat Bolivia 3-0 and Peru beat Bolivia 3-1. Because Peru have conceded one goal, Brazil only need a draw to progress, so the 4/1 about a draw could be a value bet.
Bolivia vs Venezuela (Saturday)
Venezuela will be hoping that either Brazil or Peru win the other game in Group A, as that means a win over Bolivia guarantees them a place in the knockout stages. However, if all three teams end up with five points, all three should progress.
Despite two defeats, Bolivia aren’t completely down and out either, as a win could still feasibly see then qualify as one of the best placed losers. Hopefully, that means this match will be as open as the last four matches the two teams have contested.
They played out a 2-2 draw in a friendly in 2013, whilst Bolivia won their 2014 friendly 3-2. Bolivia also won 4-2 at home in World Cup qualifying in 2015, whilst Venezuela exacted revenge with a 5-0 home win in 2016. Both teams will want to win, so 9/4 about there being more than 3.5 goals could be a sporting play.
Qatar vs Argentina (Sunday)
The score was 3-0 to Argentina when these two teams met in a friendly in 2005, but Qatar have recently won the African Cup, whilst Argentina have seemingly lost the plot. Argentina have enough quality players to win easily, but both teams’ results against Colombia and Paraguay suggest that odds of 2/7 for an Argentinean win are hardly tempting.
Argentina lost 2-0 to Colombia, whilst Qatar lost only 1-0, whilst both teams drew against Paraguay to leave them needing a win here to have a hope of making it to the knockout stages. It will be no surprise if Argentina get it, but 9/2 about the draw looks much better value.
Colombia vs Paraguay (Sunday)
The last three matches between Colombia and Paraguay have been tight affairs, with Colombia winning their last Copa America clash 2-1. They also won 1-0 in Paraguay in World Cup qualifying, but Paraguay later won 2-1 in Colombia in the same qualifying campaign.
As Colombia have already qualified, Paraguay could easily be the most motivated of the two teams to win, and Colombia may also see defeat as a positive if it could potentially knock Argentina out of the competition. That means the situation suggests a win for Paraguay could be beneficial to both teams, so prices of 7/4 about a Paraguay win could be worth taking.