The Copa America semifinals get underway Tuesday in Houston as the host Americans look for one of the biggest wins in the country’s soccer history when they face off with superpower Argentina and the world’s best player, Lionel Messi, in Houston. The Argentines are -200 favorites on sports betting odds with the USA at +500 and a regulation draw at +350. The other semifinal is Wednesday and features Colombia against Chile, with the Chileans at +147 and Colombians at +190. A regulation draw is +220.
Semifinals Betting Prediction For Copa America Centenario
The USA will be without three starters vs. Argentina. Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood and Alejandro Bedoya are suspended for yellow card accumulation. Each has started all four Copa games, and each has been integral to the Americans’ advancement. Jones was ejected following a second-half scrum last Thursday after putting his hand to the face of Ecuador’s Michael Arroyo. It wasn’t clear that Jones made contact and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann called the red card “an absolute joke.” A frustrated Wood was cautioned for the second time in the Copa just seconds later. Finally, a fatigued Bedoya saw his second yellow of the competition for pulling down Juan Carlos Paredes. The U.S. Soccer Federation protested Jones’ and Wood’s cards but the appeal was denied.
As for Argentina, Nicolas Gaitan will be suspended for picking up a pair of cards in La Albiceleste’s four matches. Argentina is the No. 1 ranked team in the world and loaded. It’s 7-0-0 in 2016 and has scored a robust 14 goals in four Copa games.
Buoyed by three consecutive impressive victories, Klinsmann is bullish about his team’s chances of handling Messi, citing their performance against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal at the 2014 World Cup.
“We take it as it comes,” Klinsmann said. “There is no need to talk and make Argentina bigger than they are. We played two years ago (against) Ronaldo and that was a big game, too. We were winning 2-1 right into the 96th minute. We came so far now and we are hungry for the next step, even though we understand it is a big opponent.”
Ronaldo was also nursing injuries, yet still managed to set up the late equalizer that broke American hearts, restricting them to a 2-2 draw.
Only Brazil can boast a more successful national team than Argentina in this part of the world. La Albiceleste have won two World Cups – in 1978 and 1986. They have collected 14 Copa America championships, the last in 1993. Argentina cruised through group play as the only team to win all three matches, outscoring opponents 10-1. That dominance continued last Saturday with a 4-1 quarterfinal win against Venezuela. Messi is the tournament’s leading scorer with four goals.
Messi made his first start of the Copa America tournament and tied a national record with his 54th international goal in the win over Venezuela. The USA is 2-6-2 all-time against Argentina. The last American win was in a 1999 friendly.
The Colombia-Chile match is Wednesday in Chicago. Colombia is at full-strength for the match but Chile will be without one of their leaders. Arutro Vidal will sit with a yellow card suspension, and Chile will miss his physical defense in the middle. Those teams met in November for World Cup qualifying and it was a 1-1 draw. No team has played a better match in this tournament than Chile, which advanced with a stunning 7-0 rout of Mexico. Eduardo Vargas scored four goals for the defending Copa America champions. The loss was Mexico’s worst ever defeat in the finals of a major tournament. Colombia beat the Americans 2-0 in the first match of this tournament.
Expert Betting Prediction
I’ll be rooting for the United States but there was little chance of the American winning even at full strength. Now there’s about none. Expect an Argentina-Chile final.