Brazil – Paraguay: Solid Paraguay Defending Unrewarded As Brazil Sneak Through On Penalties (0-0, 4-3 After Pens)

With a 5-4-1 setup and very little pressing, Paraguay’s tactical intentions were clear from the start. A red card early in the second half led them to essentially parking the bus for the remainder of the match. The stern nature of their defense nullified much of Brazil’s attacking threat and it took a Gabriel Jesus winner in the penalty shootout to send the hosts through.

Tactical analysis and match report by Tom Quartly

The Arena do Grêmio was the venue for this quarter-final between Brazil and Paraguay. Unseasonably hot temperatures had reduced the pitch to a bobbly, dry dustbowl as the Copa América hosts came into this one off the back of a 5-0 thrashing in their last game against Peru. Predictably, Tite lined up in the same 4-2-3-1 formation they had used all tournament.

The team also remained relatively unchanged, the only alteration coming via suspension, where Casemiro was replaced by rugged Napoli midfielder Allan; he would partner Arthur. The new look front four that saw Gabriel Jesus operate as a right winger, with Everton on the left, worked for Brazil, who had found the net eight times in the three group stage games. 

Coutinho sat in the hole behind Roberto Firmino, who had comparatively struggled to find form so far. It would be interesting to see how the new man Allan managed to fit into this system. Often deployed as a carrilero A Carrilero is simply defined as a ‘water carrier’, someone that shuttles the ball from defense . . .

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