17 June 2019
Two underdogs in Group B start their Copa America campaign this weekend, as Paraguay and Qatar go head-to-head at Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro.
Paraguay’s frustrating seven-game winless streak was brought to a halt with a 2-0 victory over Guatemala in their final warm-up fixture ahead of Copa America (D2, L5). Interestingly, three of their five defeats over the past 20 months have ended with the same 1-0 scoreline, while the remaining two ended with the 4-2 scoreline against their favor. The fact that his players have kept a clean sheet against Guatemala can comfort Eduardo Berizzo considering Los Guaraníes have struggled to preserve a clean slate in 16 of 17 outings prior. But, Paraguay’s immense difficulties in the final third could be a setback here, as they’ve managed to score 2+ match goals in only three of their previous eight outings.
Qatar’s stunning success at the Asian Cup has been rewarded with an invitation for Copa America. They have not only won the most prestigious international tournament in Asia, but they’ve done it by winning all seven of their matches in the competition. What’s more, six of those triumphs have been accompanied by a clean sheet, with the Maroons scoring 2+ match goals five times in the process. Additionally, they have scored at least one second-half goal across all seven games at the Asian Cup, while having a halftime lead on four occasions. Still, Félix Sánchez Bas’ men have suffered a 2-0 defeat to Brazil on the eve of the 2019 Copa America, which was their first H2H meeting with a South American nation since a 4-3 win over Ecuador back in October 2018.
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