Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Paraguay v Brazil: Dorival approach will work for Selecao, believes Arana

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jun 2024

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Dorival Junior will get things right despite Brazil’s underwhelming start to the Copa America, believes left-back Guilherme Arana, as the Selecao prepare to face Paraguay.

Brazil were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Costa Rica in their opening Group D match on Monday, losing ground on Colombia, who started with a win over Paraguay.

While Dorival praised aspects of his team’s performance in that match, he acknowledged more will be needed in the final third if the Selecao are to challenge for a 10th South American crown.

Atletico Mineiro full-back Arana, who played the full 90 minutes last time out, praised Dorival’s approach as he opened up on the coach’s reaction to the result.

“As soon as we entered the dressing room, he praised our pressing after we lost the ball, it was very good, we didn’t concede anything defensively,” Arana said.

“He encouraged us, gave us morale. I think that’s the thought not only of him but of all the players.

“The result of the debut was bad, but we still have two games to go. In other words, two great opportunities. That’s the thinking.

“Of course it’s a new job, Dorival arrived recently, the players are new too, but we’re focused together with him.

“Dorival knows what he’s doing, he’s an excellent coach and he’s going to help us a lot.”

Paraguay were beaten 2-1 by Colombia in their opener, leaving them likely needing to cause an upset to have any chance of reaching the quarter-finals.

Head coach Daniel Garnero believes there were plenty of positives to take from that match, saying: “We have a clear idea of our gameplan and the feeling is that we competed at all times.

“I think it was an even game, we did not manage to bring home the points but we tried to match our opponents.

“With Argentina [and Colombia], these were the two teams that arrived at the Copa with great superiority.

“There were many positive elements and when we take stock of this match we’ll see this.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Paraguay – Julio Enciso

Enciso attempted 11 dribbles against Colombia in Paraguay’s Copa America opener, the joint-most of any player in the opening round of fixtures at the tournament (tied with Richard Ríos of Colombia).

The Brighton and Hove Albion player completed six of them, the second-highest figure in the first round, behind Rios’ eight.

By netting his nation’s consolation goal, he became the second-youngest player to score for Paraguay at a major tournament this century (20 years, 153 days), after Ernesto Cristaldo versus Chile at the 2004 Copa America (20 years, 117 days).

Brazil – Vinicius Junior

Brazil failed to make their superiority count against Costa Rica, making more passes (695) than any other team across the first matchday of the competition, but only registered three shots on target from the 19 they attempted.

Vinicius was withdrawn for future Real Madrid team-mate Endrick 71 minutes in after failing to register a single shot, though he did create a game-high three chances.

He has been substituted in each of the Selecao’s last six competitive matches, versus Costa Rica and in three World Cup qualifiers last year, as well as their last two fixtures at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

After scoring 24 goals and adding nine assists for Los Blancos last season, Vinicius will be expecting to produce a better display on Friday.

MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

Brazil recorded 49 entries into Costa Rica’s penalty area on matchday one, their joint-highest figure in a Copa America match since such data began being recorded in 2011 (also versus Paraguay in 2019).

More penetration – and better finishing – will be required next time out.

Paraguay have not lost any of their last five matches against Brazil at the Copa America, recording one win and four draws.

This equals the second-longest unbeaten streak against Brazil in the history of the tournament, behind Argentina’s eight-match run between 1923 and 1946 (seven wins, one draw), tied with Paraguay’s own streak between 1963 and 1983 (two wins, three draws).

However, Paraguay have only won one of their last six games in all competitions (two draws, three defeats), so Dorvial’s team go into the match as strong favourites.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Paraguay – 13.4%

Brazil – 69.6%

Draw – 17%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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