Brazil v Chile, 2010 World Cup qualifier, September 10, 2009
The equation for Chile is simple ahead of their meeting with the Samba Boys. Win, and confirm qualification to the 2010 World Cup.
After a decade of disappointment, the arrival of Argentinean coach Marcelo Bielsa has seen a huge transformation in Chilean football. La Roja are now a solid, well-oiled unit who have looked impressive throughout qualification by fusing a high temp style with dominating possession in the middle of the park and pressing their opponents down the flanks.
That said, playing against arguably the best team in world football at present, Chile will have to reassess their tactics particularly with respect to their defensive organisation. Mindful of the 3-nil drumming to Dunga’s side in Santiago last year, Bielsa will probably line up his charges with a flat-back four, welcoming central defender Waldo Ponce back from suspension to play alongside the highly-rated Gary Medel (7/1 to score).
Having both scored on Saturday against Venezuela, Mauricio Isla and Rodigo Millar (6/1 to score) will both be looking to get the nod against Brazil, while in the final third the Chileans can boast an exciting front-four with Matias Fernandez and Jorge Valdivia looking to support out-and-out strikers Alexis Sanchez (5/1 to score) and Humberto Suazo (9/1 to score first).
Optimism around a Chilean victory is also boosted by the selection headaches facing Dunga.
Manchester City’s Robinho has been ruled out of the match after bruising his right leg in the victory over Argentina last weekend. There is also a doubt over Elano (9/4 to score) , who is reported to have picked up a foot problem. Completing the absentees, Kaka, Luis Fabiano, Lucio and Ramires will all miss out having picked up suspensions.
Accordingly, Dunga has been left with a squad of just 17 fit players, with Nilmar (6/1 to score & Brazil to win) and Adriano (9/2 to score & Brazil to win) the only two remaining strikers left in the squad. Should Adriano play, it will be the first time in over a year that the Flamengo striker has started for his country.
To offset the missing in action, Dunga has called up four players to squad, with Andre Dias, Cleiton Xavier, Diego Souza or Diego Tardelli all looking to stake a claim for a place at the World Cup in South Africa.
Dunga’s silver lining is found with Brazil’s defensive options. So far in qualifying Brazil have proved miserly at the back, conceding just seven goals in 15 qualifying matches. Julio Cesar is proving himself to be one of the best goalies in world football, while Maicon, Luisao and Andre Santos form a solid defensive base. And, with Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo (7/1 to score) sitting as two deep-lying midfielders in the centre of the park, Chile will be forced to work extra hard to find an opening in the home defence.
After a difficult start to qualification, including a defeat to Paraguay and goalless draws with Argentina, Colombia and Bolivia, Brazil have come back in recent months to record a 10-game consecutive winning streak, as well as boasting an 18-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Riding a wave of momentum, even with all their selection problems pre-match, Brazil will undoubtedly be favourites to collect another three points on Wednesday night.
101predicts: Brazil 3 - Chile 1 (10/1)
Full match odds here.