The next round of the Copa America 2015 is about to start, as Venezuela and Peru battle it out for a quarterfinals spot on Thursda night. Live stream of the match can be watched below.
According to Ryan Wrenn of FanSided, this game could solidify Venezuela's surprise dark horse status in the tournament. That's because they won their opening game on Sunday against Colombia 1-0.
"They contained the offense that defines this generation of Colombia's footballers while also bringing the best out of arguably their star player, striker Salomon Rondon," Wrenn wrote. "Against a Colombia side that prefers to press down the middle, these tactics worked perfectly."
Wrenn highlighted the performance of Rondon, who had an impressive season when he was at Zenit St. Petersburg, the current Russian Premier League champions.
"While the midfield has dominated Playing for 90's coverage of the match, his dominance of Colombia's centerbacks cannot be undersold," Wrenn wrote. "He was patient, held the ball up for his onrushing midfielders, and perfectly delivered the goal when his chance came. It's that former part that sets him apart the most."
Wrenn added that Rondon was "not a forward containing a lot of the finesse typical of South America."
"For a midtable team looking for a bit more punch in attack, he might well be the perfect fit," Wrenn wrote. "If he can live up to the hype and perform against Peru as well, then he's in for an interesting summer when he returns to Europe."
As for Peru, Wrenn noted that although they lost to Brazil, they showed intimidation on the field. This tactic surprised both Brazil team and fans.
"That they managed to do this while also holding Brazil to only one goal for much of the game is a genuinely impressive feat," Wrenn wrote. "Their backline didn't put on a classic, but it was well led by an increasingly impressive Carlos Zambrano."
According to Tom Webber and Dejan Kalinic of Goal, Yordy Reyna and Claudio Pizarro replaced Jefferson Farfan in the Peru lineup for Thursday's game. That's because Farfan came down with an allergic reaction that caused swelling to his foot.
"We will see what happens with Jefferson Farfan. All are available to [coach] Ricardo Gareca to start. I try to work well, but there is also Claudio Pizarro and others who are available," Reyna said. "I work to give my best. If Jefferson Farfan does not play, I am available - like everyone else."
Reyna added that Peru would "let him recover."
"He is a great player," Reyna said of Farfan. "Against Brazil he played well despite the fact he wasn't well."
According to Goal, Peru sits in third place and has zero points in Group C so far, making a win necessary for them. The team is three points behind Brazil and Venezuela.
As for predictions, Wrenn thought both teams will fight hard for the win.
"We can expect it to be fairly open," Wrenn wrote. "It just might not be as thrilling a contest as their performances Sunday might suggest it would be."