The match-ups to decide Brazil’s semi-final showdown


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It’s the most fabled rivalry in South American football, with Brazil desperate to send Argentina packing on home soil and seal its place in the Copa America final.

Argentina is promising a fight, with manager Lionel Scaloni likening his side’s Copa campaign to ‘war’ and this battle with Brazil will be fought on several fronts.

BLOG: Argentina has the tools to punish Brazil

Here are the key match-ups where the tie will be won and lost

Alisson Becker v Lionel Messi

Brazil is yet to concede a goal at Copa America, but the Selecao hasn’t had to deal with Lionel Messi.

Brazil goalkeeper Alisson will take some solace knowing he has had the wood over Argentina’s superstar of late.

In the last two seasons, Lionel Messi’s Barcelona has failed to get past a team with Alison between the sticks in the UEFA Champions League, a psychological edge Alison can take into this semi-final.

Allison can expect to have his work cut out, with Messi seemingly hellbent on ending his agonising wait for an international trophy.

Thiago Silva v Sergio Aguero

Once again, Sergio Aguero hasn’t been able to bring his scintillating club form to the international stage, but Lionel Scaloni has confirmed he’s sticking with the Manchester City striker for tomorrow’s (AEST) crunch semi-final.

With one goal in four games, and service from the likes of Lionel Messi, Lauturo Martinez and Angel Di Maria, Aguero’s return in front of goal hasn’t been good enough so far.

The stats are damning, but underestimate Aguero at your own peril. It took a split second for the 31 year-old to catch Qatar napping, with a surging run and deft finish to cap off a 2-0 win.

It won’t be Qatar this time, Aguero faces the daunting task of evading seasoned veteran Thiago Silva, who has commanded Brazil’s impenetrable back four all tournament.

Leandro Paredes v Philippe Coutinho

Despite the struggles of star striker Roberto Firminho, Brazil leads the way in goals scored at the Copa America, thanks in great part to the Selecao’s attacking midfielders.

Philippe Coutinho has been pulling the strings at the heart of this attacking midfield trident and stopping the Barcelona playmaker could be key to shutting down Brazil’s attack.

Who better to take on this assignment than Argentina’s Leandro Paredes, who has anchored the base of La Albiceleste's midfield since the start of the tournament.

If the 25 year-old can stop Coutinho enjoying space between the lines, it could be the key to breaking down the Selecao in the final third.

The Stats that matter

  • Brazil has never lost a competitive game at home against Argentina (W8 D2), and remains unbeaten in its last seven games against Argentina in all competitions (W6 D1).
  • Argentina has reached the final each of the last five times it reached the Copa America semis.
  • Brazil has attempted the most (84) and has faced the fewest (24) shots so far in the 2019 Copa America – it has only faced five shots on target.
  • Philippe Coutinho has been involved in the most shots so far in the 2019 Copa America: 29 (16 attempts and 13 chances created) – at least 12 more than any other Brazilian or Argentinian player (Roberto Firmino, Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi all on 17).
  • Brazil has made it through to the final in each of the last six occasions they reached the Copa America semi-finals; the last time it failed to progress from this stage was in 1979, against Paraguay (two legs).