The penultimate quarter-final of the 2011 Copa América sees Brazil and Paraguay play out a rematch of a Group B clash that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Ahead of the match Brazil’s head coach Mano Menezes has headaches in defence as he attempts to tighten up a backline that has leaked four goals in their last two Copa América matches.
It’s looks as though Menezes will be without AC Milan centre-back Thiago Silva who has missed the previous days training with a strain in his right thigh. If Silva doesn’t make it, David Luis of Chelsea will be asked to slot in alongside captain Lucio.
The upheaval in defence is no sort of tonic for Menezes as he prepares his team to face a Paraguay side that netted three times from set-pieces against Venezuela.
Right-back Maicon looks set to keep his place ahead of Dani Alves after impressing against Ecuador and he knows where his priorities lie ahead of the Paraguay tie.
“The back four has the job to defend first and foremost. If we get that part of our game right then we can think about helping out in attack as well.”
Up top Menezes has Pato and Neymar fresh from bagging a brace each against Ecuador. The head coach has been encouraging both players to spend more time inside the opposition’s penalty area during the upcoming quarter-final.
Neymar to slam home a hat-trick and take his 2011 Copa América tally to five is priced at 40.00 with paf.com.
Paraguay’s head coach Gerardo Martino intends to set-up his team to cut off the supply line to the Brazilian strike force.
“Neymar is not our main concern for this game, we have to stop Ganso. The playmaker is the guy who dictates the play for Brazil and we need to stop him playing the balls that hurt us last time out.”
It’s not so straightforward for Martino when it comes to setting up his attack. The head coach is sweating on the fitness of Roque Santa Cruz after the forward limped out of the game with Venezuela.
Santa Cruz remains keen to play and collect his 26th international goal to become his country’s leading marksman of all time. If Santa Cruz is unavailable for selection Nelson Haedo Valdez is a very suitable replacement at the disposal of Martino.
Martino will once again ask wideman Marcelo Estigarribia to utilize both flanks to cause Brazil problems. Estigarribia roasted both Alves and André Santos during the Group B meeting and even managed slip in Santa Cruz for Paraguay’s first goal.
Paraguay beating Brazil by a 2-1 scoreline is available from paf.com at 20.00.
Brazil: Julio César: Maicon, Lucio, David Luiz, André Santos, Lucas Leiva, Ramires, Ganso, Robinho, Neymar, Pato.
Paraguay: Justo Villar, Darío Verón, Paulo Da Silva, Antolín Alcaraz, Aureliano Torres, Enrique Vera, Cristian Riveros, Néstor Ortigoza, Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios, Marcelo Estigarribia.
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