It’s Argentina’s high-quality attack against Venezuela’s organised defence on Friday night in Rio de Janeiro, with a place in the semi-final of the Copa America at stake. Venezuela have shown that they are a well-organised team who are hard to play against, as their 0-0 draw with Brazil in the group stages shows. They also drew 0-0 with Peru in the group stages, and beat Bolivia 3-1 in their final game, so they are unbeaten in the tournament so far.
For Argentina, it is all about harnessing their impressive range of attacking talents led by skipper Lionel Messi. This is the country’s 10th appearance in the quarter-finals of the Copa America. They have reached the semi-finals in four of the last five of those appearances.
Venezuela v Argentina Prediction: Venezuela 0-1 Argentina
This is going to be an interesting game, where attacking power meets defensive stubbornness and organisation. In the end, we suspect that the Argentines will have the attacking strength they need to overcome the steely resilience of Rafael Dudamel’s team, but they may well need a late goal to do it. We strongly suspect that a moment of magic from the likes of Lionel Messi will be needed to clinch what is likely to be a tense and tight game. No one will want to make the error that allows their opponent in for a chance. We think Argentina will win with the game’s only goal in the end.
Our recommended tip: Argentina 1-0
Our recommended tip for this game comes from Betway, with the bookmaker offering odds of 9/2 on Argentina to win on the 1X2 market. We think that this offers good value to punters, in terms of the odds on offer, as the bookies have got Argentina as strong favourites to win this match. That has made finding good value bets tricky, but this one looks good to us. It also matches our prediction perfectly. We think that Argentina will find it hard work to break down Venezuela’s well-organised and resilient defence, but also that their attacking flair will prevail in the end.
Venezuela do not have an especially good record against Argentina, having won only two out of 25 encounters against them. The Venezuelans will take hope from their last three encounters with the Argentines, though, as they are unbeaten in them. In 2016 and 2017 the teams met in two World Cup qualifiers that both ended in draws. The first of these, a home game for Venezuela, finished 1-1 and the second, in Argentina, finished 1-1.
The most recent meeting between the teams was a friendly in March in Madrid in Spain. Venezuela won the game 3-1, with Newcastle United’s Salomon Rondon opening the scoring.
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Players to watch: Sergio Aguero & Salomon Rondon
While much of the focus on Argentina always, understandably, falls on the slight shoulders of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero is in many ways just as important to his national side as the Barcelona player. Aguero scored in the win against Qatar to help his team reach this stage of the competition. He is also a ruthless forward who knows how to win games, as can be seen from his being part of Manchester City’s treble-winning team.
Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon is the kind of player that Venezuela will need to perform well if they are to win this game. While they have shown that their defence is amongst the best in the tournament at the Copa America so far, they need to score goals to win games. Rondon netted 11 goals in 32 Premier League games for his club in 2018/19, and his countrymen would like him to find at least one more on Friday night.