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Copa América betting preview: Brazil vs. Paraguay

Brazil, still to fully shake off the torpor that engulfed them towards the end of the 2014 World Cup, will play Paraguay in the quarter-finals of the Copa América.

The Seleҫão topped Group C, winning two games out of three, although that hasn’t prevented shots being fired in the direction of head coach Dunga from fans who perceive him as too pragmatic. Now in his second spell as Brazil manager, he has found himself accused of abandoning the free-spirited, attacking brand of football the national side have traditionally been renowned for. He certainly did his case few favours as Brazil finished their final group game against Venezuela with four centre-backs on the pitch in Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Miranda and Marquinhos.

Barcelona winger Neymar is out of the rest of the tournament, suspended for a head-butt on Colombia defender Jeison Murillo, although the form of Willian could compensate as the attacking midfielder grows into his role for his country, ably creating Roberto Firmino’s winner against Venezuela with the outside of his boot.

Their opponents Paraguay are yet to taste defeat in this year’s competition, having seen off Jamaica by a goal to nil in between commendable draws with Uruguay and Argentina. Crowned Copa América champions on two occasions and resurgent under new boss Ramon Diaz, Paraguay will fancy their chances against a Brazil in transition. Tonybet have them at a best price of 24/5 to move into the semi-finals. Compared with best odds of a Brazil win at an unfavourable 3/4 with Bet365, a flutter on Paraguay may just pay off.

Argentina-born striker Lucas Barrios was instrumental in the early success Jürgen Klopp enjoyed at the helm of Borussia Dortmund, and his game-saving goal against Argentina in the 90th minute underlined the 30-year-old’s enduring ability. Betway have the target man priced at a well worth considering 9/2 to notch another against Brazil.

Roberto Firmino is fancied by the bookies as most likely to get on the scoresheet, priced at 5/1 by Betfair and William Hill to be the first to find the back of the net. The Liverpool-bound number ten was chiefly a creator during his time at Hoffenheim, but in the absence of Neymar has every chance of being Brazil’s main attacking outlet this Saturday.

Tom Lewis
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