A solid run of betting in the group stages has set us up well for where it really matters; the knockout round. It all gets underway Saturday afternoon with a thrilling fixture between two high-octane South American sides, the host Brazilians, and an upstart Chilean squad.
Chile looked very impressive in Group B, with their only blip coming against the Dutch in their final match. In that fixture, they had a glorious opportunity to top the group and avoid Brazil in the round of 16, but oddly rested key players and didn’t seem that focused on playing their usual brand of football. We’ll see if those tactics and decisions pay off come Saturday. Despite that final group match, Chile plays an attacking style with underrated quality littered throughout their line-up. Seen as a legitimate darkhorse to do damage in this tournament, Chile are more than capable of pulling off a shocker to the host country. After all, Brazil’s coach did state before the competition, that Chile was the side he least wanted to face in this round.
Despite coach Scolari’s concerns, he possesses quite the solid squad. While the Brazilians weren’t as dominant as many predicted they’d be in a weak Group A, they did what needed to be done to finish atop the table. Neymar was outstanding in all three matches, but the issues right now seem to be with the rest of the squad. Aside from Neymar, attacking options look limited, and the squad does seem quite susceptible to defensive lapses. Against a dangerous squad like Chile, the Brazilians need to be sharp or else they could be facing an embarrassing elimination far too early in the competition.
We finished the group stages with a 9-5-1 record on our featured selections, and will look to keep that hot streak riding on through the round of 16. Read on below for further game thoughts on Chile/Brazil and today’s official prediction.
Brazil vs. Chile Betting Odds:
Brazil (-210) / Draw (+375) / Chile (+375)
Brazil -1 (-130) / Chile +1 (+110)
Over 2.5 (-160) / Under 2.5 (+140)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Brazil vs. Chile Prediction:
While it was surprising seeing how the Chileans took a fairly lackadasical approach to their final group match against the Netherlands, it doesn’t take away that this is a dangerous side that will pressure the Brazilians today. That fixture allowed them to rest perhaps their most crucial player, strong midfielder Arturo Vidal. Vidal is expected to re-enter Chile’s line-up today, and should be able to disrupt the skill and creativity within Brazil’s midfield. He has had an excellent season, both with Chile and in Serie A, and remains one of the premier central midfielders in the sport. If he can play to his potential, he should be able to create many chances fo Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas on the counter-attack.
One intriguing statistic heading into this crucial clash is the history of these two squads. Brazil hasn’t lost to Chile in 12 straight matches – dating back to 2000, and Chile has had their World Cup ended three straight times by the Brazilians. While both sides are aware of the history, both coaches have vowed to not let it cloud their preparations.
This should be a thrilling fixture, and frankly it is a shame these two sides have to meet this early in the tournament. The Chileans were primed for a deep run, but running into the Brazilians in just the round of 16 seems harsh. That said, they possess the skill, physicality, and overall quality to frustrate and put a real scare into the host nation. Expect Vidal to nullify the creative maestro in Brazil’s midfield, Chelsea’s Oscar dos Santos. Oscar has great skill and vision, but Vidal’s size, physicality, and hard challenges should give an edge to Chile in the midfield.
From there, the Chileans will be content to sit back and not press forward unless given a decisive advantage with numbers. One thing Chile does not want to do in this contest is be caught out and have their vulnerable back-line exposed. They’ve shown some deficiencies with their defense in qualifying and this tournament, and need to be aware of Brazil’s attacking prowess. Another area the Chileans must be sure of is their defending of set pieces. Their size was exposed against a physical Dutch side, and on corners and free kicks they need to definitely watch the height and aerial ability of David Luiz. If they can do those two things, Chile has an excellent chance of getting this game to penalties, and perhaps advancing.
The work rate and spirit of this Chilean side is at an all-time high it would seem, and that will play into their game-plan. We’ve seen the Chileans press for 90 minutes, and they’ll do just that against a more talented Brazilian side. The skill and creativity of the Brazilians should be stifled for the most part. The talented Neymar, Hulk, Fred, and Oscar will have little time on the ball, and look for turnovers to be created.
Chile will play much like they did against the Dutch, only with the right personnel for the Brazilians. While I won’t go as far as to predict Chilean advancement, this is a squad that possesses the necessary skill, physicality, and mobility to be a thorn in the sides to the host Brazilians. It’s a bad match-up and Brazil’s Scolari knows it. Expect a tight encounter with both teams getting many chances, ultimately finishing with some extra-time. While I feel the Brazilians will ultimately advance, Chile will provide all they can handle in this back-and-forth affair.
PICK = Chile +1 (+110)