Can Paraguay get back into form? They have to as they play Asian champions Qatar in their opening Copa America 2019 game at the iconic Maracana Stadium.
Teams: Paraguay and Qatar
Paraguay head into the Copa America 2019 short on confidence having failed to win any game in seven competitive games prior to a 2-0 win over Guatemala.
The team is under new manager Eduardo Berizzo whose own reputation will be on the line after getting the chop in his last two managerial jobs with Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao respectively.
Qatar are coming into the tournament on the back of a stunning season where they landed the AFC Asian Cup crown. They may be seen as an outsider in the group which have Argentina and Columbia as well, but they won’t be an easy opponent. The roster is stocked with talented players and players who know how to string passes together.
Watch out for direct runs of Akram Afif and Almoez Ali.
This Copa America 2019 match will be played between Paraguay and Qatar at Maracana, in Rio de Janeiro. The ground has a capacity of 54,990. The game will start at 03:30 PM (IST), on Thursday, June 9.
Copa America 2019 failed to land a deal with the Indian broadcasters. As a result, no eligible platform is available to enjoy the matches.
Recent form (Last six matches) Paraguay – W L L L D W Qatar – W W W W W L
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Paraguay Team News:
Paraguay have failed to nail down a regular goalkeeper in the last 12 months or so, and anybody of Antony Silva, Alfredo Aguilar and Junior Fernández may be preferred. Though, Silva looks favourite to start the match.
Santiago Arzamendia‘s incredible form for his club Cerro Porteño means he may get the nod ahead of Júnior Alonso at the left-back.
At centre-back, former AC Milan defender Gustavo Gomez and West Ham’s Fabián Balbuena are expected to partner in central defence, while Bruno Valdez and Iván Piris will battle for a place at right-back.
Miguel Almiron is the creative spark in the team and will be worth keeping an eye on, while one of veteran Oscar Cardozo and Federico Santander will be given the nod in attack.
Defenders: Gustavo Gomez, Ivan Piris, Bruno Valdez, Junior Alonso, Fabian Balbuena, Juan Escobar, Santiago Arzamendia, Ivan Torres
Midfielders: Oscar Romero, Richard Ortiz, Rodrigo Rojas, Miguel Almiron, Celso Ortiz, Matias Rojas
Forwards: Oscar Cardozo, Hernan Perez, Derlis Gonzalez, Federico Santander, Cecilio Dominguez, Juan Iturbe
Paraguay Probable XI:Antony Silva (GK), Ivan Piris, Fabian Balbuena, Gustavo Gomez, Santiago Arzamendia Duarte / Junio Alonso, Richard Ortiz, Rodrigo Rojas, Miguel Almiron, Cecilio Dominguez, Juan Iturbe, Federico Santander / Oscar Cardozo
Abdulkarim Salem Al-Enez is the only player missing from Qatar’s AFC Asian Cup squad. So they should stick to the same combination which won them the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
A change in the formation could be seen here though. Qatar usually opts for 4-2-3-1 and 4-5-1 but went with a five-man backline in the warm-up game against Brazil.
Qatar team for the Copa America 2019:
Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb, Youssef Hassan, Mohammed Al Bakri
Defenders: Tareq Salman, Abdulkarim Hassam, Hamed Ismael, , Tameem Al-Muhaza, Assim Madebo, Salem Alhajri, Ahmed Fathy, Pedro Correira, Al Mahdi Ali, Bassam Husham
Midfielders: Boualem Khoukhi, Karim Boudiaf, Ali Afif, Abdulaziz Hatim, Abdullah Abdul Salam
Forwards: Akram Afif, Hassan Al Haydos, Almoez Ali, Ahmed Al Aaeldin, Ahmed Moein, Abdulaziz Al Ansari
Qatar Probable XI:
Al Sheeb (GK), Pedro Miguel, Hisham, Khoukhi, Salman, Hassan; Al Haydoos, Madibo, Hatem, Afif, Ali