The 2019 Copa America has reached the semi-final stage and Brazil take on Argentina in the first semi-final in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The two teams were expected to play each other in the final by many, but Argentina’s failure to win Group B sees them pitched against the home nation a game earlier.
The second semi-final takes place on Thursday between Chile and Peru, and Chile are odds-on to make it to their third consecutive Copa America Final after beating Colombia. Peru also booked their semi-final spot by winning a penalty shootout against third-favourites Uruguay.
Brazil vs Argentina
Two of the most thrilling football sides on the planet may be contesting the first semi-final of Copa America 2019 but goals haven’t been at a premium so far in the competition. Both teams scored just seven times in 18 group games, whilst three of the quarter-finals ended 0-0 at full-time, whilst Argentina drew 0-0.
The two most recent friendlies between two sides were also tight affairs, with both teams winning one game 1-0. It was slightly different when the two teams met in World Cup Qualifying, with Brazil winning their home game 3-0, whilst the match in Argentina ended 1-1. But since then, both teams have promoted a more defence minded strategy.
Brazil have yet to concede a goal in their four matches and, whilst they beat Bolivia 0-0 and Peru 5-0, they failed to score against Venezuela and Paraguay.
Argentina made an inauspicious start to the tournament with a defeat to Colombia and a draw against Paraguay but have won their last two games against Qatar and Venezuela 2-0. Those results against Paraguay and Venezuela suggest that there’s unlikely to be much between Argentina and Brazil, so it’s a bit of a surprise that Argentina are as big as 4/1 to win in 90-minutes.
Due to the current lack of goals, bets on their less than 2.5 goals are sure to prove popular. But if that’s the case, that adds more weight to backing Argentina, who look just as likely to win the game 1-0 as Brazil are. But as this match could easily be drawn, it’s even more of a surprise that 11/2 is available about there being a penalty shootout, which looks a big price considering three quarter-finals were decided that way.
Chile vs Peru
It’s no surprise to see Chile have been installed as the favourites for this match considering they’re on a hat-trick of Copa America titles, but they did lose their last friendly against Peru 3-0. However, Chile did beat Peru twice in World Cup Qualifying, winning 2-1 at home and 4-3 in Peru. Chile also won the last time the two sides met in the Copa America in 2015, when the winners Chile knocked out Peru 2-0 in the semi-finals.
As both teams were drawing 0-0 at full-time in their quarter-finals this year, it’s possible that this could end up as another dreary defensive match. However, three of the last four matches they’ve contested have produced more than 2.5 goals. That’s also been the case in 50% of both teams’ matches so far in this competition, so odds of 7/4 about more than 2.5 goals looks a value bet.