In the 2021 Libertadores, Atlético-MG has already achieved an unprecedented feat. For the first time, a Brazilian dispatched Boca Juniors and River Plate in the same edition of the tournament. This Sunday, at 4 pm (GMT), Brazil and Argentina are back to face each other, this time in a duel between the teams, for the World Cup qualifiers, and if Tite wants to, he can count on the athletic strength against the brothers.
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Hulk celebrates Atlético-MG goal — Photo: Conmebol
The least likely athlete to take the field is Everson, who received the first call-up to wear the Amarelinha and is Weverton’s reserve, with a great performance against Chile. But the Athletic goalkeeper was the most decisive in Galo’s duels against Boca Juniors and River Plate.
In all, there were 14 difficult saves in the four knockout duels. Against the Xeneizes, Everson was a hero in the penalty shootout at Mineirão, when he took two shots and converted the last and decisive one, which earned Atlético a spot in the quarterfinals.
Everson; Atlético-MG x River Plate; free defense De La Cruz — Photo: Pedro Souza / Atlético
In the next phase, against River Plate, Everson scored both in the first leg, in Buenos Aires, and in the return, in a Mineirão, in front of more than 17 thousand fans. There were five difficult saves in the return match, one of them due to the lack of De La Cruz in the angle, worthy of a record of a work of art.
The goalkeeper is experiencing the best moment of his career at Galo, but he should not take the field, unless there is an accident with Weverton. A captive figure in the squad’s calls, the Palmeiras archer has Tite’s confidence and should be back in the starting lineup against Argentina.
Players carry Everson after Atlético-MG vs Boca Juniors — Photo: REUTERS/Bruna Prado
Decisive Hulk against River
In the first game of the Qualifiers, against the Chilean national team (from Eduardo Vargas), the great expectation of the Atletico fans was to be able to see Hulk and Guilherme Arana entering the field with Amarelinha. The two, however, remained on the bench, and the anxiety now goes to this Sunday’s classic.
In duels with hermanos for Libertadores, Hulk was out against Boca and failed in the penalty shootout. But, against River, he showed why he is one of the highlights of South American football this season. He gave a beautiful assistance to Nacho in the first game, and, on the return, he had a great performance: waiter for Zaracho’s volley and a great goal over Armani.
Hulk celebrates goal for Atlético-MG, in the match against River Plate — Photo: Staff Images / CONMEBOL
For the national team, the striker will again live the expectation of making his debut after five years. In the game against Chile, Tite opted for Gabigol in the first half and Matheus Cunha, during the match.
Arana absent against Boca, solid against the River
As he was already at the service of the Olympic team for the Tokyo Games (where he won the second consecutive gold medal for Brazil), Guilherme Arana could not take the field in the two round of 16 matches against Boca Juniors.
William Arana; Atlético-MG x River Plate — Photo: Staff Images / CONMEBOL
In the duels against River, he didn’t contribute with goals or assists, but he was solid and effective, as he has been throughout the season. No wonder, it has been requested by many as Tite holder in the main selection, but it should continue as an option in the reserve bank.
The coach has Alex Sandro ahead of the full-back for Galo. The Juventus player had a discreet performance against Chile, but he was efficient in marking and, it seems, he should be back in the starting lineup.
If uncertainty hovers in the Brazilian team regarding the use of the Trio do Galo, from the foreign quartet summoned, only Alan Franco (Rooster’s reserve) should not enter the field in this Sunday’s round, for the qualifiers.
Ecuador, from Franco, receives Chile, from Eduardo Vargas, who started against Brazil and had solid performance. The striker must be re-scheduled from the start by coach Martín Lasarte.
Eduardo Vargas in action for Chile against Brazil — Photo: Lucas Figueiredo/CBF
At Defensores del Chaco, Junior Alonso should return to the field with the captain’s armband in Paraguay’s duel against Colombia. The Paraguayans try to win again after six games of fasting in the qualifiers.
At Nacional de Lima, in Peru, Savarino will try to take Venezuela out of the lantern in the duel of the last two placed in the competition.
Savarin; Atlético-MG — Photo: Pedro Souza