The semifinals are underway at the Copa America tournament in Chile, and the teams from Argentina and Paraguay will take to the field on Tuesday, June 30. Live Stream info can be found below.
According to Ricardo Zuniga of the Associated Press, Paraguay managed to knock out heavily favored Brazil 4-3 on penalties Saturday after a 1-1 draw. The team did it with the help of coach Ramon Diaz, who hails from Argentina.
"We've played against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, and none could beat us," Diaz said.
Zuniga reported that back in 2014, Paraguay finished last in 2014 World Cup qualifying from South America. It previously drew 2-2 with Argentina in group play and 1-1 with Uruguay.
Liam Apicella of Sports Mole thought Paraguay would not reach this stage of the tournament, given that they faced off against Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. However, the team had a history of getting close to but never winning the championship.
"While making the semi-finals should be regarded a success, having got so close last time, there is bound to be much determination among the Paraguayan squad to have another crack at a title that has eluded them since the country's triumph of 1979," Apicella wrote.
As for Argentina, Zuniga reported that the pressure will be on star player Lionel Messi to perform like he has for his football club, team Barcelona. He will also have to overcome fatigue to pull it off for Argentina.
"Barcelona won the Champions League title against Juventus in Berlin," Zuniga wrote of Messi's performance. "He then traveled halfway around the globe with the Copa America starting just five days later."
Zuniga noted that Messi has only scored one goal in the tournament so far. Argentina has only scored a total of four goals in the entire tournament.
"It's terrible how hard it is for me to score for the national team," Messi said.
According to Apicella, Messi has a positive record against the Paraguayans. Four of his 46 goals were scored against Paraguay.
"As a team, the Argentines are gunning for a record-equaling 15th Copa America title, yet it will be their first triumph since they successfully defended the title back in 1993," Apicella wrote.
Based on his analysis, Apicella believed that the score would be tied 1-1 and decided on penalty kicks.
"Argentina have not performed well so far and up against a stubborn Paraguay side, they may find it tough once again," Apicella wrote. "There was not much to separate these teams in the group stages and it's likely to be that way again, with a second penalty shootout in as many matches a likely outcome."