Brazil will take on Chile on Saturday in what will be the first of eight World Cup second round ties, with the Selecao looking to keep up their perfect record against their South American rivals on Brazilian soil, and book their spot in the quarter finals.
Brazil have never lost to Chile at home, but Luis Felipe Scolari’s side have not been at their best so far in the tournament, and the 65-year-old is eager for his side to show their worth against the Chileans, who will seriously test their World Cup credentials in Belo Horizonte.
Finishing second in Group B, only behind the rampant Netherlands, Chile claimed the scalp of the now deposed world champions Spain during the first round in what was one of the performances of the tournament in the Maracanã.
The relentless attacking displays shown by Jorge Sampaoli’s side throughout the group stage may prompt Scolari to change his team lineup a touch, with the midfield battle to be crucial to the outcome of the tie.
Brazil Team News:
Possible XI – Cesar, Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Paulinho, Ramires, Gustavo, Oscar, Fred, Neymar
Former Chelsea defender David Luiz is nursing a slight back injury sustained in training, but should be fit to start.
Manchester City man Fernandinho and Chelsea’s Ramires will be pushing for a start against the Chileans, but if Scolari decides to put one more man in the midfield, the latter should get the nod, with Ramires able to offer just that little bit more to the attack than his compatriot.
Chile Team News:
Possible XI – Bravo, Jara, Silva, Medel, Mena, Aranguiz, Diaz, Isla, Vidal, Vargas, Sanchez
Cardiff’s Gary Medel is a doubt with a muscle injury, but if he does recover, he should start in what will be a full-strength Chile side.
Juventus powerhouse Arturo Vidal will be welcomed back into the centre, having been rested in the 2-0 defeat to the Dutch in the last Group B match.
Soccerlens Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Chile
I expect the Selecao to overcome this particular hurdle, despite perhaps the Chileans scoring first, with this new found resilience in the face of pressure on of this Brazil side’s main strengths.
Chile have never beaten Brazil in their own back yard (losing 20 and drawing six), and while they look strong under Sampaoli, I can’t see the record being broken in the Estádio Mineirão on Saturday.
Key World Cup links:
Brazil World Cup 2014 Team Page.
Chile World Cup 2014 Team Page.
World Cup 2014 Matches – Fixtures & Results
World Cup 2014 Player & Team Stats
World Cup 2014 Group Tables
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Our main World Cup 2014 news page.
The Official Soccerlens World Cup Predictor Game.