GROUP B’s big guns go head-to-head in La Serena in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at the betting.
Argentina v Uruguay | Wednesday 00.30 | Premier Sports
Four years ago at the last Copa America, Uruguay won a record 15th title to put the Celeste one ahead of Argentina in the all-time winners’ list. The victory was secured on Argentine soil and included knocking the tournament hosts out on penalties at the quarter-final stage. Now Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay side want to hurt the Albiceleste once again.
Events last Saturday have set up what should be an enthralling encounter between these two old rivals. Argentina blew a two-goal lead against Paraguay whilst Uruguay were far from convincing in their opening 1-0 victory over Jamaica. Defeat for either side in in La Serena isn’t unthinkable but it’ll certainly damage confidence and expectation.
Argentina displayed their formidable firepower and superiority in an impressive first-half performance but the tournament favourites fell asleep in a sloppy second-half and once again their capacity to defend has to be called into question. The Albiceleste’s midfield offered little protection against the thrusting Paraguayan attacks and a simple tactical switch to play two up top left the backline all at sea.
You’d expect Gerardo Martino to tinker with the team’s balance before taking on Uruguay with the Celeste able to sit back and play the game that suits them so well. Against Jamaica, Tabarez’s team were asked to take the initiative and they looked lost. Uruguay are at their best playing on the counter, spoiling and niggling and upsetting the rhythm of their opposition.
Against the Reggae Boyz, Uruguay posted almost an even share of possession whilst firing in fewer shots than the Group B underdogs – their two shots-on-target haul must be improved but should Argentina fall into the Celeste’s trap, they should be able to carve out enough opportunities to pile more pain on the Albiceleste’s parade.
Argentina are unbeaten in 17 Copa America and World Cup group games so defeating them without Luis Suarez looks a tall order but backing Uruguay +1 (4/5 BetVictor) on the Asian Handicap holds plenty of appeal. With this selection, we’ll get our cash back should Uruguay lose by a solitary goal but should Tabarez’s men pinch a point or better, we’ll have ourselves a winner.
And I’ll also have a nibble on the 20/19 that Both Teams Score with 888 Sport. It’s proven a successful angle in 12 of Argentina’s last 21 competitive outings and as already mentioned, it’s hard to find faith in their defence shutting any side out but with a fearsome forward-line at their disposal, you’d always back them to score.