Brazil vs. Belarus: 7 Bold Predictions for Men's Olympic Match
Sunday's Group C match between Brazil and Belarus at Old Trafford is one that features two countries with completely opposite footballing histories.
Brazil has produced numerous legendary players, while all Belarus has produced in the past decade has been former Arsenal player Alexander Hleb.
Clearly, there is a gap in talent, but the Olympics are a major tournament and anything can happen, as Spain learned on Thursday when they lost to Japan.
Here are seven predictions for the match between two countries that have never met at the senior level, but will meet in Manchester on Sunday in the Summer Olympics.
Winner of the Match Will Win the Group
This is the simplest of all predictions for Sunday's match.
Both Brazil and Belarus won their first Group C match and are tied on top of the group with three points each.
If one country wins on Sunday, they will go through to the knockout round as the group winner.
The First 20 Minutes Will Decide Match
After 20 minutes on Thursday, Brazil was already up a goal on Egypt, while Belarus was still deadlocked at zero with New Zealand.
One thing that can never be overlooked in world football at any level is scoring first and having momentum on your team's side.
Brazil can very easily go out and score at will early, but if they are held early by Belarus, the European nation will gain confidence, and it could turn out to be a good match.
Brazil's Biggest Opponent Will Be Brazil
Let's be honest here, Belarus is no Egypt and should not be a tough opponent for Brazil.
Nevertheless, Brazil will be its own worst enemy if they play like did in the second half against Egypt.
The Selecao gave up two second-half goals, and instead of being dominant and scoring more goals themselves, they struggled to keep the lead.
With that said, the Brazil attack will have to play 90 minutes, and the defense will have to play solid for all 90 minutes as well.
Belarus Will Play Better Team Football Than Brazil
Yes, you read this right.
Brazil is the better team, but they have quite a few individuals like Neymar who will want the ball as much as possible.
On the other hand, Belarus will play more of a team game and will have no flashy individual that is the future of world football for the next decade.
This style of play might not win the game for Belarus but it will give them a slight chance.
Brazil's Defense Will Play Better Than They Did First Game
The Brazilian back four of Rafael, Marcelo, Thiago Silva and Juan will have a much better game than they did against Egypt.
The back four gave up two goals in the second half, but with a game under their belts now and the nerves of a big tournament out of the way, it will be time for the defense to step up in front of keeper, Neto.
Look for Brazil's strong defense to hold Belarus to zero or one goal at most, as they will try to make a statement.
All Eyes Will Be on Neymar
Why would all eyes on the pitch not be on Neymar?
The Brazilian starlet should be using the 2012 Olympics as his springboard into full-fledged stardom.
The 20-year-old scored the third goal for Brazil in the 30th minute on Thursday, but fans are all waiting for the multiple goal performance that will leave the football world talking for days.
As for the Belarus defenders that have to mark Neymar, good luck.
Brazil Will Win in a Blowout
After looking at the matchups on the pitch at Old Trafford on Sunday, I can only come to one conclusion.
Brazil will win, and they will win big.
Manager Mano Menezes will not be happy with winning by a goal, considering the poor second-half performance on Thursday, and the players won't be happy about it either.
When it comes to the talent on the pitch, Brazil are just too good and if they do not win by multiple goals it will be deemed a disappointment.
Prediction: Brazil 4, Belarus 0