Soccer powerhouses Portugal and Brazil have already qualified for the round of 16, yet a lot remains at stake in the final match of Group G. Brazil is currently situated on 6 points, whereas Portugal holds 4 to their name. Yet another must-win scenario is upon us at this year’s World Cup.
Brazil followed up a less than stellar performance against North Korea, by dismantling a strong Ivory Coast side. In beating the Ivoirians by a 3-1 score line, the Selecao reasserted themselves as the prohibitive tournament favorites, and looked dominant in the process. Although they sit in first place entering their final match against their rivals from Portugal, a lot is at stake when you analyze the potential second round matchups.
Portugal remains two points behind Brazil, yet is fresh off an emphatic 7-0 demolishing to the lowly North Korea. Although Portugal is likely content with just qualifying in what was initially deemed a tough group, an intriguing opportunity exists for the Portuguese.
The winner of this match, and thus the group, will be forced to do battle with the second-place side from Group H. Currently that position is occupied by tournament co-favorites, Spain. Both Portugal and Brazil wouldn’t be keen on having to face the Spaniards in just the second round. Certainly another interesting dynamic to a World Cup tournament already filled with loads of unpredictability.
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Brazil vs Portugal Odds:
Keys to the Game:
Despite the frightening prospects of meeting Spain in the next round, both teams cannot worry about the plight of La Furia Roja. For Brazil and Portugal, their best options will be to continue their excellent play and look to enter the knockout stages with added confidence.
Although Portugal would surely love to run up the score on their rivals from Brazil, they’ll instead be more concerned with maintaining their current form. After looking dominant against the North Koreas, Portugal will have to compete against a tough Brazilian side, devoid of their main facilitator in the midfield. Deco is slated to miss this match, against his birth country of Brazil. He has an undisclosed injury, and should be replaced by Tiago. Throughout this fixture, expect Portugal’s defense to definitely get tested. Although they have yet to concede a goal in South Africa, the firepower of Brazil will prove to be tough to handle. Defenders Miguel, and Ricardo Carvalho, will need to be instrumental in nullifying the rushes of star striker Luis Fabiano.
Brazil also got off to a poor start in South Africa. In their first match they entered halftime tied with a lowly North Korean side. Yes, the same team Portugal smashed by a score of 7-0. The Selecao are a proud program, and their fans always expect the best. Despite them having a spot already secured for the round of 16, look for the Brazilians to try and go perfect throughout the group stages. A feat only accomplished thus far by the Netherlands. However, Brazil will be in tough against an explosive Portuguese attack, and without star midfielders Elano and Kaka, their depth will be put to the test. Aside from those exclusions, Brazil is sure to play their full-strength side, and worry about a potential super round of 16 clash with Spain if it actually materializes.
What to Expect:
Portugal’s most recent performance should not be taken out of context. They ran up the score against a fragile North Korean squad, thus deflecting attention away from their own vulnerabilities. Although these differentials may make it seem as if Portugal and Brazil are nearly equal on ability, that is not the case. Brazil at full strength has displayed an innate ability to raise their game and seemingly always emerge victorious. However, the losses in the fixture of Elano and Kaka will hurt them in the midfield, yet it should still be enough to secure at least a draw, and atop Group G.
Brazil vs Portugal Prediction: Brazil 1 – Portugal 1
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