Sports Mole previews the Copa America quarter-final between Uruguay and Peru, including team news and predicted lineups.
The fourth and final 2019 Copa America quarter-final will see Uruguay take on Peru at the Arena Fonte Nova in Bahia on Saturday.
Uruguay topped Group C to book their spot in the final eight of the competition, while Peru progressed from Group A as one of the best third-placed teams having collected four points from their three matches.
Uruguay’s progression to the last eight of the competition was straightforward, having collected seven points from their three Group C matches. A win over Chile last time out saw them top the section, avoiding a quarter-final with Colombia and potential semi-final with the tournament holders Brazil.
There is no question that Uruguay are in the easier side of the draw – Argentina must be respected due to their immense quality but Colombia and then potentially Brazil is a much tougher route to a potential final. La Celeste must be respectful of Peru’s quality but it would be a big surprise if they did not progress to the semi-finals.
A 4-0 win over Ecuador saw Uruguay make a strong start to their Group C campaign, before drawing 2-2 with Japan in their next match. As mentioned, a 1-0 win over Chile last time out secured first spot in the group.
La Celeste last won the Copa America in 2011, which was their 15th success, making them the most successful team in the history of the competition. They were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2015 tournament, though, before failing to make it out of the group stages in 2016. Their last major tournament appearance, meanwhile, saw them reach the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup before losing to eventful winners France.
Oscar Tabarez‘s side are far from the complete package but there are few more potent front twos in world football than Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez. Both have scored twice at this summer’s competition and are sure to give Peru’s defence a tough examination in Bahia this weekend.
Central defence is also where Uruguay are particularly strong, with the excellent Diego Godin joined by Jose Gimenez, who is now a former Atletico Madrid teammate. There is a lot of talent in the middle of the park, but Cavani, Suarez, Godin and Gimenez will all have to play well in the latter stages if Uruguay are to make a strong play for the trophy this summer.
Tabarez’s side have actually won four of the last five meetings between the two nations. Peru recorded a 2-1 victory when they last locked horns during qualification for the 2018 World Cup, though, and La Blanquirroja have an impressive recent record in the Copa America.
Without looking too far ahead, a win for Uruguay on Saturday would potentially set up a semi-final with Argentina next week, which would see close friends and indeed Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez go head-to-head.
Recent form: WDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWDW
Peru’s progression to the quarter-finals of this summer’s Copa America means that they have been present at this stage in each of the last eight editions of the South American tournament, which is a very impressive record.
Indeed, Los Incas last failed to qualify for the final eight in 1995. They were eliminated in the quarter-finals of four straight tournaments between 1999 and 2007, before finishing third at the 2011 competition. Peru also registered third in 2015 during an impressive period.
Their 2016 competition, meanwhile, was ended by Colombia in the quarter-finals after losing a penalty shootout. Ricardo Gareca‘s team did not post either first or second in their group this summer but four points saw them advance to the final eight as one of the best third-placed finishers.
Peru opened their Group A campaign with a goalless draw against Venezuela before beating Bolivia 3-1 to put a huge three points on the board. They suffered a 5-0 defeat to Brazil last time out, however, with the Selecao claiming first position in the section ahead of Venezuela, who take on Argentina in the last eight.
No team has won the Copa America on more occasions than Uruguay, who have landed the trophy on 15 occasions, just one ahead of Argentina and seven ahead of Brazil. Peru have won the competition on two occasions but their first success was back in 1939 and their last in 1975.
Gareca’s team have played seven international matches in 2019 but their record is not exactly terrific, winning three, losing three and drawing the other one. When considering that one of those defeats was against El Salvador, Peru must be seen as the underdogs entering the fourth and final quarter-final.
The White and Reds have a squad packed full of talent and experience but there is no world-class figure, which many of the nations at this stage can call upon. Internacional’s Paolo Guerrero will be tasked with providing the main threat to Uruguay and the 35-year-old has one goal in his three appearances this summer.
Recent form: DWL
Recent form (all competitions): LWLDWL
Uruguay’s main injury concern surrounds Diego Laxalt, who picked up a hamstring injury against Japan and was not involved against Chile. Should the defender fail to recover then Giovanni Gonzalez of Penarol in Uruguay should get the nod at left-back.
Lucas Torreira and Cristhian Stuani are struggling with illness, meanwhile, but both are expected to recover to line up for Tabarez’s team.
Luis Suarez and Cavani will start as the front two for the 15-time winners, with Nicolas Lodeiro and Nahitan Nandez also expected to feature in attack.
As for Peru, head coach Gareca has a fully-fit squad to choose from but changes are expected from the 5-0 defeat to Brazil last time out.
Guerrero will again lead the line with support from Jefferson Farfan, although Josepmir Ballon is pushing for a spot in the XI after coming off the bench in the loss against the Selecao.
Andy Polo should keep his spot in an attacking position, though, despite the fact that the 24-year-old has only managed one international goal.
Uruguay possible starting lineup:
Muslera; Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Gonzalez; Lodeiro, Bentancur, Torreira, Nandez; Suarez, Cavani
Peru possible starting lineup:
Gallese; Advincula, Zambrano, Abram, Trauco; Tapia, Yotun; Polo, Farfan, Cueva; Guerrero
Head To Head
As mentioned, the last meeting between the two nations brought a 2-1 win for Peru back in March 2017.
Uruguay beat Peru 2-0 in the semi-finals of the 2011 Copa America, though, with Luis Suarez scoring a double for a team that went on to beat Paraguay in the final.
In all, the two South American nations have locked horns on 66 previous occasions, with Uruguay leading the head-to-head 37 wins to Peru’s 16, with the remaining 13 matches finishing all square.
We say: Uruguay 2-0 Peru
Peru’s recent record in the competition must be respected but it is difficult to look past Uruguay due to their quality in the final third. We fancy the 2011 winners to book their spot in the semi-finals with a routine victory.