Argentina will be looking to stretch their unbeaten record in the Copa America Centenario as they prepare to face off against a resilient Venezuela side in the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Argentina have been sublime this summer, beating defending champions Chile and topping their group on their way to the knockout stage of the tournament. However, they should not be underestimating the strength of a Venezuela side which has shown great character to pick themselves up after a disappointing start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Team News & Tactical Brief


Argentina Could Face Brazil in the Semi-Finals

The Argentinians have had a great campaign so far, winning all of their matches in the group stage. What has been even more astonishing is the comprehensive way in which Gerardo Martino’s team have gone about their task of dismantling their opponents.

Argentina have scored 10 goals in their three group stage matches and conceded just one. The one goal that they conceded was against defending champions Chile. Notably, Argentina’s commendable performance so far has come without their talisman and captain Lionel Messi who played only 74 minutes in these three matches. In fact, the FC Barcelona star did not even feature in the crunch match against Chile.

However, Argentina are set to receive a big boost ahead of their quarter-final tie against Venezuela, as Messi is set to start for the first time in the tournament. Martino has been trying to nurse Messi back to full match fitness over the last two games, and is now ready to give his captain a start.

On the flip side though, the Albiceleste are set to miss midfielder Angel Di Maria for the rest of the tournament after the PSG star sustained a torn adductor.

The Argentinian XI will probably be deployed in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lionel Messi, and Sergio Aguero operating behind central striker Gonzalo Higuain. However, due to the versatility of their players, the Argentinians can just as easily switch to a more attacking 4-2-2-2, by pushing Aguero up front, along with Higuain.

Possible Starting XI (4-2-2-2):
Romero; Roncaglia, Otamendi, Cuesta, Funes Mori; Banega, Mascherano; Lavezzi, Messi; Aguero, Higuain.


While Argentina came into this tournament with a lot of expectations, the Venezuelans have been on the opposite side of the spectrum. Starting off from a group that had two tournament favourites like Uruguay and Mexico, not even the most ardent of Venezuela fan would have given the Los Criollos much of a chance.

It was when the Venezuelans struck blood against Uruguay, that their chances of qualifying for the quarter-finals really began to shape up. A 1-1 draw against American giants Mexico only helped prove that their win against Uruguay was no fluke.

Venezuela were only able to get one point from their first six matches in the South American World Cup qualifiers and conceded 17 goals. However, a change in coaching staff seems to have done the trick, as new manager Rafael Dudamel has set his team up as a defensively resolute side. Venezuela have conceded just one goal in their three group stage matches in the Copas.

However, Dudamel needs to rally his forces together, in order to get the best performance out of the side against Argentina. The Argentina attack possess some really big names, who can all turn the match around. The likes of Higuain, Messi, Aguero, and Lavezzi all have the capability to conjure up a magical moment, and get the breakthrough.

Central to the Los Criollos’s attack will be West Bromwich Albion striker Solomon Rondon, who will be looking to lead Venezuela’s counter-attacks against Argentina.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2):
 Hernandez; Gonzalez, Angel, Velazquez, Feltscher; Guerra, Rincon, Seijas, Penaranda; Martinez, Rondon.

Key Stats

  • Argentina have scored 10 goals in the three group stage matches.
  • Venezuela on the other hand, have conceded just one goal in the group stage.
  • Argentina have won all five of their previous meetings against Venezuela in the Copa America
  • Argentina have not lost any of their last 13 matches in the Copa America.

Player to watch out for

Lionel Messi

Argentina vs Bolivia
The Argentine talisman is back and ready to start his first game in this year’s Copa America. While the Albiceleste will miss the presence of Angel Di Maria, Messi’s return to fitness should make up for that. The Barcelona star showed the world that he is still in top form by scoring a hattrick against Panama, after coming on as a second half substitute.

Venezuela will be looking to set up a tight defence against the tournament favourites, but a moment of magic from Messi could be all it takes for Argentina to join USA in the semi finals.


Argentina 0-1 Venezuela

The Venezuelans have been the surprise package this tournament, and could carry their great form forward and defeat giants Argentina. Dudamel’s side have shown that they can be very disciplined defensively, and that is something that could help them hold off the attacking prowess of Argentina. If they can manage to defend well, one precise counter-attack may be all it takes for Los Criollos to make it to the semi finals.

Blast from the past


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