Copa America semi-finals: Argentina aim to pick up Paraguay win
With hosts Chile having booked their place in the Copa America final, it’s down to Argentina and Paraguay to see who will face them, with both these hopeful nations set to collide in their semi-final encounter.
With Lionel Messi in their ranks, along with a host of other world class names, Argentina will be confident of reaching their 26th Copa final, and they are 4/1 to secure victory within 90 minutes and both teams to score.
Although, Paraguay will provide a stern test for Gerardo Martino’s men, with their boss Ramon Diaz recently declaring an unusual motivational ploy for his side. The 55-year-old revealed that he already owes his players two pick-up trucks, and a third if they can overcome Argentina in the semi-final.
“Did I promise the squad something? Ask the players, they’ve already won two,” Argentine Diaz stated.
Paraguay striker Edgar Benitez later confirmed: “We’ve already won two pickups off him and we’re going for the third.”
Diaz declared that his team’s potent performances in this summer’s tournament were the result of being spurred on by the desire of making up for not qualifying for the World Cup finals in Brazil last year.
“I believe in the thirst for revenge of this team, that’s why we’ve got to this stage,” continued Diaz.
An unlikely victory for Paraguay (15/2) would see them reach their second successive Copa final, with current Argentina coach Martino having guided them to the 2011 final during his reign. Diaz’s side have already drew 2-2 with the Argentines in the group stage, having fought back from 2-0 down, proving they can cause an upset.
“I like it that the team have the fortitude to turn (bad) situations around, we have a spirit that I like,” Diaz said.
However, in order to topple the 14-time winners, second behind only Uruguay in the all-time list, Paraguay will need thwart the seemingly unstoppable Messi, who is 7/4 to fire Argentina to victory in 90 minutes.
Sergio Aguero has already netted twice this summer in Chile and odds of 9/2 can be had on both the Manchester City striker and skipper Messi striking in normal time.
Key danger for the Paraguayans will be Ramon Barrios, who has also struck two goals so far in the competition, and he is 11/4 to net again in normal time.
Argentina have incredibly not won a Copa crown since 1993, and are the biggest final falterers in the tournament’s history, falling at the last hurdle on a record 12 occasions. Although they are more than capable of going all the way this year, with Paraguay standing in the way of a mouth-watering final showdown against hist nation Chile.