The two giants of South American football meet in the 2021 Copa America final and Dan Fitch is backing Brazil to just have too much for Argentina.
"Brazil would have been favourites regardless of the location, for they have the best balanced squad in the tournament."
Brazil 2.26/5 v Argentina 4.03/1; The Draw 3.39/4
Sunday 11 July, 01:00
Live on BBCi
Brazil look for tenth win
Brazil are expected to retain their Copa America title when they take on Argentina, in the Maracana on Sunday.
The Selecao won the Copa America in 2019, ending a twelve year drought in the competition. In total they have won the tournament nine times, trailing Argentina with 14 wins and Uruguay with 15. In their favour of winning a tenth title is the fact that Brazil have home advantage, with the tournament having been switched from the original co-hosts, Argentina and Colombia. Brazil would have been favourites regardless of the location, for they have the best balanced squad in the tournament.
That has been evident during their six matches in the competition so far (W5 D1). Brazil have been able to rotate at times, while still easing their way through to the final. Their victories in the knockout stages have both been 1-0 wins, first against Chile and then Peru, which suggests that though worthy favourites, Brazil are far from certainties. Gabriel Jesus is suspended for this match, but Tite has no injuries to contend with.
Martinez the semi-final hero
Argentina's path to the final has not always been as smooth as Brazil's, yet they look like the only nation at the Copa America, capable of beating the hosts.
La Albiceleste did not find it easy to beat some of the stronger teams in the tournament during the group stage, drawing with Chile in the opening game and narrowly beating Uruguay 1-0. The same was true for them in the semi-final against Colombia, with the match going to penalties after a 1-1 draw.
Argentina won the shootout 3-2, as the Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made himself a hero by saving three of Colombia's penalties. The nation's biggest hero, Lionel Messi, picked up an ankle injury against Colombia, but it would be a major surprise if he did not play in this final, as he seeks to win his first trophy with the national team.
Brazil will win close game
Brazil are the 2.26/5 favourites to win in 90 minutes, with the draw at 3.39/4 and Argentina at 4.03/1.
These odds seem about right. Argentina were the last team to beat Brazil in November 2019, but the Selecao have since built up a thirteen match unbeaten run, winning twelve (D1). That win for Argentina, came only four months after Brazil has beaten them 2-0 in the Copa America semi-final of 2019.
This looks set to be a low scoring game, with Brazil having only scored once in each of their last three games and Argentina struggling for goals against better defenders. Under 2.5 goals is not worth recommending at 1.68/13, but under 1.5 goals could land at 2.6413/8. A Brazil win and under 2.5 goals is 3.814/5.
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Dan Fitch 2021 Copa America P/L
Staked: 36.00 pts
Returned: 33.71 pts
P/L: -2.29 pts