Group B of this year’s Copa America begins with Colombia and Argentina facing off in an enthralling matchup at the Arena Fonte Nova. Both sides have been in fine goal-scoring form leading up to this tournament with Argentina bagging in their last five and Colombia in their previous six, so everything is set up for Saturday’s fixture to be a tie nobody will want to miss out on.
Four wins in the five matches leading up to the tournament has seen Argentina become a nation waiting for something special to happen this year, expecting most of it to come from their magician, Lionel Messi. The Barcelona forward has not enjoyed the best moments of his career in the colours of his country, however with the clock running out of time in terms of his age and national tournaments that he will be capable of playing in, this could be his final opportunity to win gold for Argentina. A brace in the final warm up game against Nicaragua was the perfect way for the five time Ballon D’Or winner to prepare for the competition, and teammate Sergio Aguero will also be looking to make a lasting impression on the tournament having underperformed in previous years. Argentina have hopefully – from their point of view – learned from the errors they made against Venezuela in March and developed as a group, whereas they were always searching for a bit of magic from Messi before.
James Rodriguez burst onto the scene in the 2014 World Cup with his sensational displays and wonder-goals, most notably against the hosts that year, Brazil. Since then, he hasn’t quite found his feet at club level yet for his nation he always seems to perform at a solid standard. Fellow forward Radamel Falcao might just see this as his final chance to really push his country towards glory, now being 33-years-old, and fifteen goals this season in Ligue 1 was the perfect way to prepare for this summer’s competition. A trip to South Korea did not prove particularly fruitful for Colombia in March, against whom they were defeated by two goals to one. However they have since found their feet again with two successive 3-0 beatings of Panama and Peru, albeit they are weaker opposition than Argentina. Regardless of whether the result is positive or negative, it is certain that the players will give everything for the nation team.
The lead up to this tournament has been used to test different styles of play and formations for Argentina, with 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 3-4-2-1 all being utilized in the three warm up games prior to the Copa America. Against Venezuela and Morocco though, the performances were very underwhelming and they could only net twice, losing 1-3 at the hands of Salomon Rondon, Jhon Murillo and Josef Martinez. The meeting with Nicaragua proved fruitful as a 5-1 scoreline did not flatter Lionel Scaloni’s team, and Lautaro Martinez may have put himself in Saturday’s starting line up with that display. Exequiel Palacios is the sole injury concern for Argentina going into this one as he struggles to return from a muscular problem.
Colombia don’t have such worries with every man available to be selected for Carlos Queiroz at this time, which is a big boost ahead of an important clash with their South American counterparts. In both of the victories before this matchup Colombia began with a 4-3-3 line up, Falcao being the focal point of attack in the number nine slot and David Ospina maintaining his position as number one. Here, they should start similarly as those two outings resulted in six goals overall and there is no reason to change anything.
These are two sides who score plenty of goals and we can see them bagging a couple or more during these crucial ninety minutes, with Colombia hitting six in their last two matches and two of Argentina’s past three matches having more than two goals scored. Because of this, Skybet’s 6/5 offer for over 2.5 goals looks fantastic to us. Lautaro Martinez could quite easily be one of the goalscorers in this affair having bagged a brace in the final warm up encounter with Nicaragua, and Skybet have him to get on the scoresheet yet again here at 11/5. The 21-year-old has been excellent in Serie A this season and this tournament might just be his chance to show his talent to the world.
The head to head record strongly favours Argentina, with two wins and three draws in the last five matches played between the two nations. With both teams expected to score at least once and Scaloni’s men favourites to come out on top, 7/2 for Argentina to earn maximum points and both sides to score looks a good price from Skybet.
Over 2.5 goals at 6/5
Lautaro Martinez to score anytime at 11/5
Argentina to win & BTTS at 7/2