World Cup Odds and Picks: Brazil Vs. Chile Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 6/27/2010
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The preliminaries are out of the way for Brazil, so now the fireworks can begin.
There is scarcely a person on the planet that didn't expect Brazil to advance out of Group G and into the elimination round. In fact, it really wasn't that hard to predict this pairing before the tournament even started - Brazil was clearly the best team in Group G, and Chile was the second best team in Group H. There was some craziness in Group H, and for a while it looked like anything could happen, but in the end things turned out as they should.
This crucial fight for continued life in the World Cup and a claim of South American supremacy takes place at 2:30 p.m., EST on Monday, June 28 in Johannesburg. Brazil has played two of their games in Johannesburg already, including one in the same Ellis Park stadium as this contest, so they will certainly be comfortable in their surroundings.
These two teams are certainly familiar with each other. They were, after all, the top two teams qualifying out of the CONMEBOL. Unfortunately for Chile that familiarity just means that they know how much trouble they are in. The two teams played twice during qualification, and Brazil won easily both times - 3-0 in Chile, and 4-2 at home.
Chile has a bizarre recent history with the World Cup. They were disqualified from the 1990 tournament and banned from qualifying in 1994 after their goalkeeper faked an injury when a firework seemed to hit him. Upon further review it was found that he had not been hit. This may be the one time in soccer history that a ridiculous fake injury was actually punished - though that punishment went to an extreme. They made it into the field again in 1998, and made it into the elimination round where they met - deja vu warning - Brazil. Things did not go well - it was 3-0 at the half, and 4-1 at the final whistle. Chile is back at the World Cup for the first time since that debacle.
What can you say about Brazil that hasn't been said a hundred times? They are five-time champions and have played in the finals two other times. The 2006 march was a serious disappointment, though, and they are hosting next time around, so the pressure for them to succeed here is very high.
Their World Cup run this year has so far been effective, but not exactly inspiring. They beat North Korea to open, but didn't do t nearly as easily as they should have - or as Portugal did. Next up was their best game to date - a convincing decimation of Ivory Coast. They finished up with a mostly meaningless and completely underwhelming scoreless draw against Portugal - a game that neither team really bothered to show up for. Brazil hasn't give us any particular reason for concern - especially because they have a habit of saving themselves for when things really matter - but they will clearly have to be better than they have been so far if they want to go all the way. The fact that they were so dominant against Ivory Coast makes it difficult to be too concerned, though.
Chile's World Cup has gone about exactly as expected. They won over Honduras and Switzerland, and then lost to Spain. They were hindered against Spain by the early loss of a player, but it's doubtful that it would really have mattered given how the teams looked from the outset. Chile's problem in that game was the same as it is against Brazil: they are an exciting and promising team that belong enthusiastically in the second tier of teams in this tournament, but they just don't yet have the weapons and experience to match up to the elites. They have some solid players and they were disciplined and well coached but they just don't have the depth that top teams do. I don't want to suggest that Chile isn't a good team - they definitely are. They just had the misfortune of drawing one of the small handfuls of teams that are a very difficult matchup for them. If they were to pull of the win against their neighbors then none of these players would ever have to buy a drink at home again.
Brazil vs. Chile World Cup Odds
Oddsmakers give Brazil as much credit as they deserve here. They are favored at -1 (-115), with Chile at +1 (-115) in early action. With the draw factored in Brazil is at -250, Chile at +675, and the draw at +330 (in elimination play the draw obviously doesn't include the penalty shootout). The total is at the standard 2.5 with the under favored at -155. Odds are courtesy of Bodog and Sports Interaction.
Brazil vs. Chile Picks and Predictions
Brazil Wins If: They play like Brazil. This is not the kind of game that Brazil loses. They know what they need to do in big games, and they know how to isolate and exploit weakness against outmatched opponents. The Brazilians are stunningly deep and very well coached, so there is no excuse at all for them not to be ready and fired up for this game - especially with the added geographical rivalry factor. If Brazil sticks to their game plan, plays within themselves, and employs the creativity and determination that is their trademark then it's hard to imagine them gong home at this point. If they were to get cocky or lazy, though, then this is the kind of game that could backfire on them because Chile is a dangerous opponent with absolutely nothing to lose.
Chile Wins If: They take risks and get rewarded. The Chileans stand absolutely no chance here if they try to match Brazil skill for skill, or if they let the Brazilians set the tone of play. The only way they are going to come out on top is if they can find ways to do things that Brazil doesn't expect and isn't prepared for then they stand a chance of getting the giants off-balance and getting and edge. There are some recent examples of teams that have had at least some success against Brazil - though none of the teams actually beat Brazil. The Americans scored to quick goals and were up 2-0 at the half in the Confederations Cup last year, but then they let up on the gas, got sloppy, and let Brazil come back and win. In the semifinals of that same tournament outmatched South Africa did a surprisingly good job of frustrating Brazil, and it was scoreless until Brazil finally put one in the 88th minute. Earlier in the World Cup North Korea was clearly outmatched and never had a chance, but for the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second they were able to hold Brazil scoreless, and you could see the frustration levels rising. If Chile can draw inspiration from those teams, and do a better job of employing the strategy, then they stand a chance.
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