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Jun 19, 2019 at 1.30am UK at Itaipava Arena Forte Nova, Salvador

Preview: Brazil vs. Venezuela - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the Copa America group-stage clash between hosts Brazil and Venezuela, including team news and predicted lineups.

Copa America hosts Brazil will be aiming to build on a positive start to their campaign when they take on Venezuela at Arena Fonte Nova in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Selecao beat Bolivia 3-0 in their opener to take control of Group A, while Venezuela played out a goalless draw with Peru in their first match.


Brazil attacker Everton celebrates scoring against Bolivia in the Copa America on June 14, 2019© Reuters

Everything may have turned out fine for Neymar-less Brazil in Saturday's curtain-raiser, but they were booed off at half time and it is clear that the pressure is on to succeed on home soil.

Tite's men went into the interval all square, but within eight minutes of the second half they were two goals up in Sao Paulo thanks to a Philippe Coutinho brace - the first a penalty and the second a deft header.

Gremio forward Everton rounded off the scoring late on to keep Brazil's momentum going, as they made it 10 wins in their last 11 matches.

In fact, the Selecao have lost only once - 2-1 to Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup - in their last 27 outings.

Despite their positive run, however, Brazil's players were still jeered by their own supporters last week and boss Tite knows that winning alone is not enough.

"We need to understand," he told reporters after the Bolivia match. "If we get forward and create chances then they will applaud. Having been at big clubs, when you sometimes don't produce, then don't expect the fans to understand.

"They will boo. When you pass the ball along the back, from full-back to central defender to goalkeeper, the first thing you hear is boo."

With 20 attempts in total, however, five of those on target and three of them ending in the back of the net, Brazil showed that they can cope without star attacker Neymar.

The quality of the opposition will improve past the group stage, of course, but for now all Brazil can do is keep their momentum building and hope that their fanbase get behind them to make home advantage count.

Recent form in Copa America: W
Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWW


Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon celebrates scoring against Liverpool on May 4, 2019© Reuters

Venezuela's goalless draw with Peru, a side ranked 12 places above them in the FIFA rankings, keeps them in the mix to reach the knockout rounds.

La Vinotinto had to hold on with 10 men for the final 15 minutes after Luis Mago picked up a second yellow card, but the sides ultimately cancelled each other out, even if Peru did have the ball in the back of the net twice.

Some better finishing from Salomon Rondon may have made the difference for Venezuela, and boss Rafael Dudamel will know that his side may now need a point from the tournament favourites if they are to remain alive in the competition.

The bad news for Dudamel, however, is that his side have met the hosts of a Copa America tournament on 14 previous occasions and have lost each of those games by an aggregate score of 61-4.

Venezuela have lost only two of their last 14 Copa America group-stage games, but one of those defeats came against Brazil in 2015 as they went down 2-1.

History suggests that La Vinotinto will make themselves tough to beat on Wednesday and, more recently, they have lost just one of their last eight matches heading into this clash - a 3-1 loss to Mexico two weeks ago.

Dudamel was pleased by the fighting spirit shown by his players in the Peru stalemate, but keeping out Brazil - boasting the likes of Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho - will be a far tougher task.

Finding a way through at the other end of the field may prove even more difficult, meanwhile, as their opponents have kept seven consecutive clean sheets at home in Copa America tournaments, last conceding at home against Venezuela in 1989.

Recent form in Copa America: D
Recent form (all competitions): DWDLWD

Team News

Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring for Brazil against Honduras on June 9, 2019© Reuters

Tite used Fernandinho and Casemiro in holding midfield against Bolivia and he may stick with that combination on Wednesday.

Everton's goalscoring appearance from the bench last time out will have improved his chances of starting this match, but Richarlison and David Neres are still considered the favourites to feature either side of Coutinho in attacking midfield.

However, Jesus is in strong contention to take over from Firmino, who may be given a breather on the back of a gruelling club campaign that only finished two weeks ago.

Coutinho was the Brazilian player with the most shots attempted (five), chances created (four) and tackles (seven) in their opening game against Bolivia.

As for Venezuela, Mago's dismissal against Peru means that Dudamel will have to shuffle his pack slightly.

Ronald Hernandez is expected to be recalled to the side, which could see Roberto Rosales move to the opposite flank.

Should he retain his place up top, Rondon will earn his 15th Copa America cap for Venezuela - he is the only member of the current squad to have scored more than once in the competition (four).

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Luis; Casemiro, Fernandinho; Richarlison, Coutinho, Neres; Jesus

Venezuela possible starting lineup:
Farinez; Hernandez, Chancellor, Villanueva, Rosales; Savarino, Herrera, Moreno, Rincon, Murillo; Rondon

Head To Head

Brazil have failed to win only three of their 24 meetings with Venezuela in all competitions - two 0-0 draws and a 2-0 defeat in a friendly match in 2008.

The Selecao have won six of their seven Copa America meetings with Wednesday's opponents, scoring 27 goals and conceding just two.

Brazil have met Venezuela twice on home soil in Copa America tournaments, winning 6-0 in 1975 and 3-1 in 1989.

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We say: Brazil 2-0 Venezuela

Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 Copa America home games, winning each of the last five, and that run looks certain to continue here. Venezuela did well to hold on against Peru and they are still in with a shot of making it out of Group A, but they will surely struggle to keep out the hosts' array of attacking talent.


Who will win Wednesday's Copa America clash between Brazil and Venezuela?

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Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring for Brazil against Honduras on June 9, 2019
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