Paraguay vs. Qatar Betting Preview and Pick
The second game of the 2019 Copa America Group B will be played between favourite Paraguay and debutant Qatar.
Paraguay vs. Qatar
- Copa America
- Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Sunday 16 June
- 20:00 UK Time
Paraguay vs. Qatar Game Preview
This tilt could be quite significant for both teams in case the third place from this group leads to the quarter-finals. We know that two best third-placed teams will qualify for the knockout stage and it is hard to believe either can end in one of the top two spots, so although it’s early, this clash can be crucial for Paraguay and Qatar.
Paraguay Team News
Paraguay won two Copa America titles thus far (1953 and 1979) and have 15 medals in total, which is rather impressive. The last time they were on the podium was in 2011 when Los Guaraníes lost in the final to Uruguay but in the previous tournament, they failed to reach the knockout phase.
Head coach Eduardo Berizzo has a squad capable of defeating every team in this group despite not having a world-class player in it. Former Benfica striker and veteran Oscar Cardozo is the leader of this generation and he has 11 goals to his name for Paraguay, which is seven fewer than the rest of the team in total. Newcastle United midfielder Miguel Almirón is the most creative individual in the squad and his connection with Cardozo will be vital for Paraguay at this tournament while Espanyol midfielder Hernán Pérez and West Ham United defender Fabián Balbuena are also rather influential and important.
Paraguay Latest Form
Paraguay have managed just one win in seven friendlies (W1, D2, L4) in the run-up to this Copa America opener against Asian Cup winners Qatar, and whilst the South Americans are favourites here, they will have to play their best game to beat the debutants.
Despite being winless in their last five Copa America fixtures (D1, L4), Paraguay are masters at the opening game of this tournament, last losing their first group game back in 1975 (W8, D6 since). If they are to continue that impressive record here, they will likely start well – Los Guaraníes have been leading at half-time in four of their last six victories (all competitions, including friendlies).
Veteran striker Óscar Cardozo’s last three goals for Paraguay have all been as his nation’s first goalscorer while there have been exactly three-match goals in five of Paraguay’s last six competitive games.
Qatar Team News
Qatar received an invitation to compete at the 2019 Copa America after surprisingly winning the Asian Cup this year, which was their first ever major trophy. Considering that they are hosting the next World Cup, it is clear that football is on the rise in this Gulf nation. They don’t have experience playing at Copa America and that can be dangerous for other teams in the group as the Maroons will be playing without any pressure.
Head coach Félix Sánchez Bas selected 23 players to participate in this tournament and all of them are playing in the domestic league, so we don’t know much about them. Still, the numbers don’t lie and there are several prolific individuals in this squad such as captain Hassan Al-Haydos who scored 28 goals for Qatar while his attacking colleagues Almoez Ali and AkramAfif combined for 31 goals for the country. Midfielders Boualem Khoukhi and Ali Afif have 26 goals between themselves while defender Abdelkarim Hassan can be quite dangerous from the left flank.
Qatar Latest Form
Qatar’s 2-0 loss to Brazil earlier this month ended a seven-game winning run, with six of those victories coming to nil, and the last two seeing them leading at the break. Whilst the Qataris won with a -1 handicap in five of those wins, their recent defeats have been a lot tighter with six of their previous eight coming via a single-goal margin – four by a 2-1 scoreline.
In fact, the Gulf nation has only conceded more than two goals in a fixture just once in their last 29 games – however, that happened to be against South American side Ecuador, albeit Qatar still won 4-3. Asian Cup top scorer Almoez Ali scored five of his nine tournament goals before half-time. There have been two first-half goals in each of Qatar’s last three games while there’s been at least one goal after the 75th minute in four of Qatar’s last five competitive fixtures.
Paraguay vs. Qatar Head to Head
These teams have met just once before and it was in a friendly game when Qatar surprised favoured Paraguay and secured a 2-0 victory in 2009.
Paraguay vs. Qatar Betting Tip
Paraguay conceded at least a goal in nine of their previous ten games while they managed to find the back of the net in five of the last six matches. Qatar, on the other hand, scored in eight of their last nine games and the only time they failed to do so was in a 2-0 defeat to Brazil a week ago after Boualem Khoukhi missed from the penalty spot in injury time. The Marrons are playing attractive football and I expect goals on both sides here, so you can go with BTTS at excellent 5/4 odds with William Hill.