Argentina vs. Brazil World Cup qualifying preview Argentina’s protection, Brazil’s cool to be examined

Brazil have already booked their place in subsequent yr’s World Cup, and Argentina usually are not far behind. They’ve hit the magic variety of 28 factors after 12 video games, which has at all times been ok in previous campaigns, and there are a number of rounds nonetheless to go, together with Tuesday’s conflict of the South American titans.

This version of Argentina vs. Brazil, then, is of little relevance to World Cup qualification, however it could possibly be of nice relevance to the World Cup itself. Freed of the pressures of creating it to Qatar, the 2 groups can now focus totally on making ready a group for the event. And there are few stiffer exams than the one that every will current to the opposite on Tuesday.

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The final defeat suffered by each groups was inflicted by the opposite. Argentina haven’t misplaced since falling to Brazil within the semifinals of the 2019 Copa America, whereas Brazil’s solely aggressive reverse because the final World Cup got here in opposition to Argentina within the last of this yr’s Copa. Each are unbeaten in qualification. However now the bar rises. Flaws and errors which went unpunished in opposition to lesser groups might now be uncovered within the San Juan showdown.

Argentina have taken this recreation away from Buenos Aires, the standard base for the nationwide group, and as much as the northern provinces, which can not please the gamers. The pitch of their traditional house, River Plate’s Monumental stadium, is extremely regarded and seen as suiting the house group’s passing type. As an alternative, a small city in considered one of Argentina’s wine rising areas has the privilege of staging such a showpiece event; listed below are a number of the factors of curiosity heading into Tuesday night time.

DEFENCE WINS TITLES

A look on the qualification desk reveals how few objectives these two groups are conceding. In 12 video games Argentina have let in solely six objectives, and Brazil simply 4.

That is an space of the Argentina facet that is undergone a dramatic enchancment since tournaments previous. The emergence over the previous few months of Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez has been of giant significance. With each expertise and energy of persona, his presence has helped unfold a confidence by the line of defense that Argentina have not loved for years, whereas Cristian Romero‘s presence in entrance of him has additionally been necessary. He stands out as the nation’s greatest centreback in a while.

However there’s a distinction. Brazil hardly ever even look as if they’re within the slightest hazard of conceding; Argentina, in the meantime, typically appear to be defending on the restrict — as they had been, for instance, for a lot of Friday’s recreation in opposition to Uruguay. Brazil will unleash extra attacking expertise than Argentina are used to, which suggests this assembly will definitely put Argentina’s defensive credentials below the highlight.

MIDFIELD CAN WIN MATCHES, TOO

One of many nice strengths of the present Argentina facet is its midfield passing. Leandro Paredes performs the primary ball out with high quality, Rodrigo De Paul has a fantastic vary of passing and Giovani Lo Celso has a candy factor going with Lionel Messi. Transferring the ball with such fluidity has helped Messi obtain possession in pockets of area from which he can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

So how will Brazil line up in opposition to them?

Coach Tite has been transferring in direction of a 4-4-2 formation, with Neymar floating up entrance behind a striker — which could possibly be Matheus Cunha on Tuesday — and width supplied by a winger (Raphinha) on one flank and an playmaker (Lucas Paqueta) on the opposite. Paqueta is splendidly versatile and could also be higher employed infield, particularly on this recreation. The hazard of the 4-4-2 in opposition to Argentina is that the 2 in central midfield — Fabinho (stepping in for the suspended Casemiro) and Fred — might be outnumbered. If Brazil go along with this formation then full backs Danilo and Alex Sandro can be anticipated to assist out.

One of the best place to look to cease Argentina is in midfield — a lesson Uruguay needed to study once they went right down to a 3-0 defeat final month, and which they took on board final Friday once they had been unfortunate to lose by the one aim.

Brazil look set to make an fascinating change at centre-back. Within the last of the Copa America, the stainless Marquinhos was partnered by Thiago Silva, although this at all times regarded like a mistake. Thiago Silva stays a fantastic defender, however he’s on the veteran stage of his profession and on the membership stage, he operates in decreased area, in the course of the again three, with the tempo of Antonio Rudiger alongside him an important a part of the Chelsea defensive unit.

As a part of a centre-back pairing, Thiago Silva is obliged to cowl more room, and it was noticeable within the Copa America that Brazil didn’t press as properly in midfield when he performed. He most popular to drop deeper to offer himself some respiratory room, one thing that performed an element in Argentina’s profitable aim, when Rodrigo De Paul had time to select his go for Angel Di Maria.

It appears that evidently the very fast Eder Militao will substitute Thiago Silva for this recreation. With Tite additionally having Gabriel Magalhaes accessible, Brazil have a humiliation of defensive riches; with quick centre-backs, it must be simpler to shut down Argentina in midfield.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROL

A part of the story of Argentina’s Copa America triumph in July was the dearth of emotional regulation from the Brazil assault once they had been chasing the sport. This has usually been an space the place Neymar might be questioned. Within the phrases of former Brazil striker Paulo Nunes, Neymar “feeds off little disputes” with opponents and with referees. His type of play is at all times prone to result in battle with the ref; Neymar has his personal standards, the place in his thoughts each contact he suffers is a foul, and he can lose management when selections don’t go his manner.

He’s, after all, an impressive footballer, and his partnership with Lucas Paqueta has been one of the best factor concerning the Brazil assault in the previous few months — they even labored collectively to vogue an excellent game-winning aim in opposition to Colombia final Thursday. However Paqueta can be responsible of a petulant lack of maturity, and such an absence of calm value Brazil within the last of the Copa America; it threatens to value them below strain in subsequent yr’s World Cup.

This match can be good observe — even when Neymar has been forced to miss the game, pulling out after feeling a muscular harm in Monday’s coaching session. The take a look at now could be the extent to which Brazil can hearth on all cylinders with out him, as this recreation can function a rehearsal for a significant World Cup recreation ought to their most potent attacking weapon both be injured or suspended.

The groups met — or began to fulfill — in Sao Paulo again in September. That match, after all, was halted after five minutes, 10 seconds when Brazilian well being officers wandered on to the sphere with the intention of expelling Argentina’s Premier League gamers. However even in that quick span of motion, there have been already hints that Brazil had been having issues in opposition to the rival midfield, and that the Argentina defence would have bother holding the opposing assault. This time, we now have the total 90 minutes to place the groups below the microscope and choose the energy of their 2022 World Cup problem.

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