Brazil vs Venezuela | Sunday 22 June | Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago | 23:30
Brazil will be looking to put a disappointing result against Colombia behind them as they look to secure their place in the quarter-finals with victory over Venezuela. However, they will have to do so without talismanic striker Neymar, who saw red in a tetchy affair against the Colombians.
To Win (90mins)
Brazil got their just deserts against Colombia. It was another lethargic performance, this time resulting in defeat. It followed up a disappointing display against Peru, where only a Douglas Costa injury-time winner prevented them from drawing their opener. Against Colombia, they weren’t so lucky and fell to their first defeat in twelve matches. Such numbers would have you believe they’re back on the right track, heading toward the upper echelons of the game once again, but you’d be wrong. All too often it has been a moment of inspiration from Neymar that has saved them from sticky situations. They won’t have that luxury on Sunday. Dunga will need to find a way for his side to fire in Neymar’s absence. Their last outing without him ended in a 7-1 destruction at the hands of Germany. Now I’m not advocating that Venezuela are anywhere near the quality of the world champions, but neither are Brazil. The delusions of grandeur built on a history of success will get them nowhere here. Changes are needed, but as long as Dunga remains in charge, that won’t happen. And Brazil will continue to fall short.
Venezuela failed to build on their victory over Colombia, falling 1-0 to Peru in their second outing. However, three points from their first two matches gives them every chance of qualifying as a best third-placed finisher. A draw will do against Brazil. And yet, they will go into the match believing that the Brazilians are there for the taking. In Salomon Rondon they have one of the form strikers in Europe. He proved his match-winning quality against Colombia and will be looking to do so again against bigger opposition. If Venezuela can replicate their performance against Colombia in Santiago on Sunday, they’ll prove a handful. Their physical defence can disrupt the Brazilians but they must be careful not to cross the line as they did against Peru. If they can keep the Brazilians quiet, they have the pace and power on the counter-attack to cause all sorts of problems. The two previous meetings between these sides ended 0-0 but with so much riding on this one, goals are paramount.
VERDICT: Brazil 5/10
I’ve changed my mind a couple times, but Brazil should have the quality to see them through. It will be tight, it will be tetchy and there could well be another red card. There won’t be more than one goal in it. A Brazil victory by one goal can be backed at 5/2, which offers a bit more value.