Brazil, Argentina face Copa pressure

July 02, 2019
Sergio Aguero smiles during a training session of Argentina’s national football team at the Cruzeiro training centre in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, yesterday.
Sergio Aguero smiles during a training session of Argentina’s national football team at the Cruzeiro training centre in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, yesterday.
Brazil’s Dani Alves laughs during training session in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, yesterday.
Brazil’s Dani Alves laughs during training session in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, yesterday.
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ELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP):

Brazil will be under pressure for their future and Argentina for their past when they meet in the Copa America semi-finals tonight at Mineirao Stadium.The hosts need the title to try to calm the waters for coach Tite until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.Lionel Messi's team seeks their first trophy in 26 years, which would also be the first major one for the superstar in the white and blue shirt.In the other semi-final, defending champions Chile and underdog Peru play in Porto Alegre tomorrow.In a change from the quarter-finals, teams will play extra time if the first 90 minutes are drawn.Neither Tite nor Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni have given much suggestion into how their teams will play their superclasico in Belo Horizonte. Sunday's training sessions were closed to the media. Not much was seen in the 15 minutes press were allowed to watch training on Monday.The Brazilian coach doesn't like to make changes, meaning his team could stick to the 4-1-3-1 formation it has used for most of the tournament, with sensation Everton, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino closing midfield gaps and helping Gabriel Jesus up front. Tite could be forced to change left-back Filipe Luis, who is recovering from right thigh pains, for Alex Sandro.Brazil's coach is under pressure for his conservative approach since he picked a squad filled with veterans, which signalled his desperation to win.Asked if his three years in charge of Brazil make it mandatory that his team shows better team organisation than Argentina, Tite agreed."But Argentina's teamwork has grown, and that feeds individualities," the Brazilian coach told journalists.Scaloni has made changes to his inexperienced team for every Copa America match, and is under pressure to be more conservative against Brazil by ending its effective offensive trio of Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Sergio Aguero.In his media conference on Monday, Scaloni confirmed Aguero will be a starter after a series of reports in Argentinian media suggested the striker could be left out."The rest I will not confirm today. Not even Messi," the coach jokingly said.Lautaro could be replaced by winger Angel di Maria, as in the second half of the victory against Venezuela.

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