Sports Monks

Brazil v/s Paraguay: Copa America 2019 Quarter Final 1 – Post Match Analysis

Brazil vs Paraguay

Brazil took on and beat Paraguay in the first quarter-final of the Copa America 2019, played on 28th of June, at 0600 Indian Standard Time (IST). Although the match may have seemed to be pre-decided on paper, on the pitch it was a whole different ballgame, with the favourites requiring a penalty shoot-out to dispatch the Paraguayans.

Tite’s 4-2-3-1 has served him really well thus far, with quality output at both ends of the pitch, represented by 8 unanswered goals across 3 games, en route to collecting 7 points from a possible 9. Everton Soares had really shone through from the flank, and his purple patch of form has prompted a few of Europe’s big clubs to sit up and take notice. Not dissimilarly, Phillipe Coutinho has unearthed the same magic that Premier League fans were accustomed to from his Liverpool days, and his excellence in the number 10 role may prompt Ernesto Valverde to perhaps tweak his system a tiny bit to accommodate the mercurial Brazilian in the centre. Roberto Firmino had likewise regained form after suffering an injury setback and playing an ineffectual Champions League final but came up short when called upon, dispatching a very poor penalty in the shootout.

The back line remained as solid as ever, with PSG duo Thiago Silva and Marquinhos maintaining a centre half partnership that is yet to allow Alisson’s goal to be breached.

Paraguay had been a mixed bag so far in the Copa America. They started off very strongly, dominating the first half against Qatar with a mix of pace and trickery from the wings, before succumbing to a second-half collapse, to let in 2 goals, ending the match on a draw. Against Argentina, they put on a marvellous display and were the better side, before goalkeeping heroics from Franco Armani salvaged a draw for the Argentine sides.

The match against Columbia, however, raised issues. Columbia’s attack came almost exclusively down Paraguay’s right, and although Gonzalez tracked back very often, Paris was caught high up the pitch for every threatening piece of play the Columbians strung together. Admittedly, they weren’t very clinical.

Additionally, Almiron had to put in quite a shift to mitigate attack after attack from Brazil by dropping in a little deeper, creating a 5-5-0 out of possession, and a flat 5-4-1 with the ball. Although Paraguay’s team switched from defence to attack cautiously, to avoid overcommitting, the Brazilian defence had all the answers when called upon. Alisson too, displayed his class in goal, both from regulation time play, as well as in the shootout.

We knew it would have taken a perfect execution of the basics of football, especially of the off the ball movements from Paraguay’s end to win this quarter-final against the favourites in their current run of form. For Brazil, it seemed simply a case of doing what they have done thus far, and for Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Casemiro to ensure no lapses on the turn of the play.

While the attack may have fizzled out a little today, the defence remained rock solid. Fabian Balbuena’s red card in the second half did not prove to be the catalyst that was expected at the time, with 90 minutes finishing unexpectedly goalless. However, Brazil’s finest stepped up from 12 yards, and defeated their Paraguayan counterparts comfortably in the end, courtesy of a good save from Alisson, a miscued shot from Derlis Gonzalez, and a routine Gabriel Jesus penalty. All’s well that ends well.

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