There is one space left in the Copa America semi-finals and it will be filled on Saturday evening when Uruguay take on Peru for the right to face the defending champions Chile in the last four of the South American competition.
Uruguay made it through to this quarter final courtesy of winning their group while Peru had to survive a couple of results to make it out of their section as one of the best third placed sides after a heavy defeat to Brazil in their final group match.
Apart from a frustrating outing with Japan where they did everything but win the match, things have been nice and smooth for Uruguay thus far. The acid test comes now that we are into the outings where there are no second chances but they have plenty of experience in their ranks and so you would expect them to cope with that accordingly. The draw has opened up for them so they will notice a massive opportunity ahead of them.
Uruguay will need to keep their defensive shape in good order here. Japan exposed them a little in the second match of the competition but they have kept clean sheets against Ecuador and Chile so I’m not too concerned by that. What Uruguay have shown is that they have goals in them. Only Brazil have matched them in the goalscoring department which highlights the Uruguayan strength in that department.
It has been a very up and down campaign for Peru thus far. They were frustrated by Venezuela in their opening match before outclassing Bolivia in their second one and then when they just needed a normal result against Brazil to ensure their progression, they were thrashed 5-0 to leave themselves sweating. Ultimately they made it through but you wonder just what psychological damage that loss has done.
If Peru are going to win this match then they are going to have to be clinical in the attacking areas. Usually in big matches you see them create enough chances to win but then they panic when it comes to finding the net and pay the price. They are going to be tested defensively too, especially if they make the same sort of errors they did against Brazil.
Uruguay have fitness concerns over Diego Laxalt, Lucas Torreira and Cristhian Stuani which could leave Nahitan Nandez in the side. All eyes will naturally be on the front two of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.
Portland Timbers attacker Andy Polo is under threat for his place in the side with his goal output not what is required so far in his international career. Jefferson Farfan is the man expected to provide the attacking support to Paolo Guerrero.
I’m already on Uruguay outright but I can’t resist another punt on them to win this quarter final. I think they are the better of the two sides anyway but I think they are performing much the better too. I mentioned right at the start of the tournament that Uruguay are not going to lack for motivation with this being the last real chance for their older generation to win something.
I can’t get over the way Peru defended in their defeat to Brazil and the fact that Bolivia had good chances against them means I can’t be trusting them here. You wouldn’t think Peru are going to find a lot of joy against this Uruguay defence so they could be sitting ducks here. I’m with Uruguay to run out relatively comfortable winners in this one.
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