On the best of days, predicting football games (especially international games like Copa America) can still be as tricky as ever.
Just when you think the teams will rip each other apart with goals, they’ll play a boring, goalless draw. When you decide to bet against the goals, that’s when the game will have two penalties, an own goal and so many moments of madness.
This is football. We’ve come to this conclusion several times: anything can happen.
Nothing is written in stone. Nothing is assured for any side. At least this is what teams competing in the Copa America this year have shown the ‘big’ sides. They have forced them to earn their points. They’ve made then work super hard to get what they’d have easily gotten some fee years back – easy wins.
A lot of these teams have re-written history.
Some others, like Lionel Messi and Argentina, are trying to re-write their own history. They’re aiming for that elusive international trophy. This time, not the World Cup. However this time, it’s about being able to win something in the colors of their national team.
It’s not been the best of tournaments for Argentina. Nevertheless, they have pulled through, countless times. And when they sing their national anthem in the Brazil vs. Argentina Cops America semi-final game, they will need to pull through, as the underdogs.
It’s a rivalry for the ages. One that cannot be missed for anything in the world. If not for anything, there is a lot at stake for both sides:
• For Brazil: The game will be played on home soil. Although they’ve not been at their best, they’ve been cheered on by their fans. The pressure is high. The memories of that 2014 disgrace still lingers. Winning the trophy in front of their home fans is everything.
• For Argentina: It’s about silencing the critics. This has to be the best and simplest way to describe the Argentines going into this game. Asides the elusive international trophy, it’s also about turning enemy territory into a playground.
By Wednesday morning, the Brazil vs. Argentina game will have produced a winner and a loser. However, just before then, typical of every football game, predictions are all over the place. Some made based on emotions, others made based on facts.
🇧🇷 Brazil vs. Argentina 🇦🇷
A clash of titans ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/tbN8yg6H32
— B/R Football (@brfootball) June 29, 2019
Speaking of facts, recent results show that Brazil (with just one loss in their last five meetings against Argentina) go into this game as favorites. That’s not even the only reason.
1. Home Advantage
The Selecao of Brazil are not invincible at home. They can lose football games on home turf too. What’s also true is this: they’re a side that no team wants to play against in cities like São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. It’s always going to be difficult.
2. Messi Problems
No one knows what’s wrong. One thing has been obvious in the Copa America so far: Lionel Messi has been playing below par. There are so many reasons why. The Brazilians couldn’t care any less. To an extent, it’s way easier to defeat the old nemesis if its best engine is malfunctioning.
Numbers don’t like. Stats are like bikinis. Regardless of which angle you’re looking at things from, numbers okay a vital role still. Going into this game, there are quite a number of them, most of which seem to favor Brazil.
• Brazil have kept a clean sheet in their last six matches (623 minutes without conceding a goal)
• Argentina has failed to win any of their games against ‘FIFA Top 10 Ranked Sides,’ since their 1-0 win over Brazil in 2016
• Brazil boasts the most wins in the last five meetings between both sides. The Argentina times have only won once.
It’s all stacked in favor of Brazil – to an extent.
However, Football is still very stupid. Anything can happen. All things being equal, this one should be an easy win for Brazil, right?
Leave us your comments and share your thoughts with us.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.