Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Preview of Round of 16. Match 6: Brazil v Chile

It's the Selecao versus la Roja. It's the 5 time world champion up against 3rd place finishers in 1962. It's a South American derby between two countries who were only separated by one point at the end of the qualifying campaign - during which Brazil only lost twice and conceded only 11 times in 18 games. Chile may have won one more game but this is a very impressive record for the Brazilians.

Brazil come into this game off the back of a group in which they showed good form but never really came alive. They defeated North Korea by a single goal - with the breakthrough taking a long time in coming. They eased to an impressive 3-1 victory over the Ivory Coast. And they did enough to manage a goal-less draw against Portugal. Manager Dunga has emphasised defence since he took over the managerial reigns in 2006 - hence the current Brazilian team have the potential to excite with the zest with which we associate Brazil, but this does not come to the fore as often as it might due to the sensible and pragmatic approach of Dunga.

Chile have brought much flair and excitement to the tournament - partly because of the attack minded tactics of their manager Bielsa. Some of their play has really lit up the tournament but they have struggled to reflect this in goals scored. In the group stage they beat both Honduras and Switzerland with convincing 1-0 wins before succumbing to spain 2-1. They will come into this game, no doubt playing 3-1-3-3 again, and will certainly be looking to attack.

Key players


Robinho is the key to providing Brazil's attacking impetus. If and when Brazil score goals it would be a fair assumption to make that Robinho has had a big hand in it

Lucio is a central defender who will keep it tight at the back. Maicon will be dangerous with his marauding runs from right-back.

Fabiano is a clinical goalscorer so Brazil will be looking to him to finish the moves off with aplomb, the way they are accustomed to him doing


Sanchez is an exciting winger and a real creative outlet for the Chileans.

Vidal is a quality full-back and will look to attack when he has the opportunity

Suazo is still on the comeback trail from injury but he might just start today. He scored plenty of goals in qualifying and will look to add to his tally against Brazil

Suspensions will be very costly for Chile. Defence is their biggest weakness and they are to go in against Brazil with a couple of second stringers after Ponce and Medel picked up second bookings of the tournament against Spain. Thus Chile's task has just got harder. Estrada is also suspended but his absence will be less keenly felt as he only starts games on occasions. They will be pleased to welcome back key players Carmona and M Fernandez to the fold after they were suspended for the Spanish match.

Expectations: To begin with Chile will likely attack and Brazil will likely contain. There is a distinct possibility that Brazil will catch them on the counter-attack, and if Chile do fall behind it will be a massive mountain for them to climb to get back in the game. Chile will need to convert any chances they do get - instead of being wasteful as they have been shown to be in their earlier games.

South America versus South America is usually something special at the World Cup and Chile will be hoping not to suffer a repeat of their second round game against Brazil back in 1998 when they lost 4-1. Chile have only beaten Brazil seven times in their last 66 games and are very much second favourites coming into this one. But they have a very talented team and a never say die attitude. They can also be ill-disciplined, something else that may be their down fall.

This could be a very entertaining game.

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