Key Battles That Will Shape Brazil's Clash with Ecuador

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor ISeptember 9, 2014

Key Battles That Will Shape Brazil's Clash with Ecuador

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    Brazil face their second stern all South American test in the space of a few days on Tuesday evening, taking on the might of Ecuador in Miami.

    While their rivals are below full strength, having chosen to omit several of their more experienced players from the squad, it is a match that will be a good test of the new Dunga era.

    Captain Neymar scored a wonderful free-kick to hand the Selecao victory over 10-man Colombia on the weekend, but there was still much to be improved from their 1-0 success.

    Where on the pitch, then, will Tuesday's clash be settled?

Segundo Castillo vs. Oscar

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    Against Colombia this past weekend, Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar was once more one of the most influential Brazil players in the game, flitting between the midfield and forward lines in an attempt to work his magic.

    If Ecuador are to avoid allowing the 23-year-old similar freedom to work his magic, they will have to keep a closer eye on his movements and that responsibility will largely fall upon the shoulders of defensive midfielder Segundo Castillo.

    Vastly experienced, the former Wolves and Everton loanee is currently plying his trade in Saudi Arabia but remains hugely influential to Sixto Vizuete's side.

    He has the stamina and awareness to keep track of Oscar, but he will be reliant on those around him to contribute or he risks negating other strong aspects of his game.

Joao Rojas vs. Filipe Luis

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    Cruz Azul winger Joao Rojas is the man most likely to come into the Ecuador lineup in place of the injured Fidel Martinez on the right flank and brings with him considerable threat of his own.

    Just 5'8" tall, Rojas has electric pace and a low centre of gravity that can threaten any defence, while his goalscoring record at club level is more than reasonable. Internationally, he would love to improve.

    Charged with keeping him quiet on this occasion will be Chelsea new-boy Filipe Luis, fresh from his summer break after missing out on Luiz Felipe Scolari's World Cup squad in June.

    Dunga's preferred choice at left-back ahead of next summer's Copa America competition, he will relish the opportunity to prove himself as a defensive force against the tricky Rojas in Miami.

Enner Valencia vs. Miranda

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    One of the World Cup's standout stars, Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia will be his country's main goal threat on Tuesday evening as he spearheads the attack for what is an inexperienced side in general.

    Quick, strong and as technically gifted as one would expect of a converted winger, he has the ability to be a major thorn in Brazil's side if left unchecked over the course of 90 minutes.

    Given the absence of established centre-backs David Luiz and Thiago Silva for Brazil, it will therefore be up to Atletico's commanding stopper Miranda to take authority in the Brazil defensive line.

    Miranda is another who will feel he has a point to prove after missing the World Cup in spite of a brilliant season at club level and could go a long way to doing so if he can get the upper hand vs. Valencia this time around.

Christian Noboa vs. Ramires

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    When it comes to the battle to control the centre of the park, Brazil will expect to dominate. However, if they are to do so, it is up to Ramires and Luiz Gustavo to get the better of opposite numbers Christian Noboa and Segundo Castillo.

    Ramires' strengths will be well known to most fans, with his lung-busting runs having been a feature of both Chelsea and Brazil's play for several seasons now.

    Noboa, though, is a relative unknown despite having featured in European football with Rubin Kazan and Dinamo Moscow since 2007. Tall, strong and an excellent passer, he is potentially Ecuador's key to unlocking the Brazilian defence.

    Ramires will be expected to close Noboa down quickly, with the Ecuadorian dangerous if given time on the ball. Heading in the other direction, though, he will find that his rival will struggle to keep pace if he can display his usual boundless energy as Brazil seek to counter.

Juan Carlos Paredes vs. Neymar

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    Watford and Barcelona come head-to-head in our final battle, as Vicarage Road-based right-back Juan Carlos Paredes comes into direct opposition with Brazilian golden boy Neymar.

    Paredes showed at the World Cup that he is a tireless runner on the flank and indeed a powerful defender. However, there were signs of fallibility in his concentration and discipline that Neymar can exploit.

    The Brazilian was once more his nation's hero on the weekend, scoring his 36th international goal to see the Selecao to a 1-0 victory over Colombia.

    The new captain will be the man to which they turn to once more for inspiration this time around and it is up to Paredes to ensure that his forays in from the left of the attack prove an ultimately fruitless endeavour.