World Cup 2014: Day 17
Brazil kick off round two against Chile in Belo Horizonte after posting their best performance of the tournament so far as they beat Cameroon 4-1 in Brasília. The hosts opened the tournament with a 3-1 victory against Croatia, a double from Neymar and one from Oscar securing the win that day. In the second game they came up against Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa in inspired form, and had to settle for a 0-0 draw, before their 4-1 victory in the final group game, which secured top spot. There was a great deal of expectation placed on Neymar pre-tournament, and he has certainly lived up to the hype so far, firing another double salvo in the game against Cameroon, with Fred and Fernandinho grabbing the other two goals that day. Brazil are unbeaten in their last 11 games, the last defeat coming against Switzerland in August. Brazil also have a brilliant record against Chile, and have beaten them 9 times in the last 10 meetings between the two sides, most recently a 2-1 win in Toronto back in November, Hulk and Robinho grabbing the goals that day, while Eduardo Vargas grabbed the goal for Chile.
Chile come into the game having given a good account of themselves so far in a tough group including the Netherlands and Spain. Chile had a great start to the tournament as they beat Australia 3-1 on the opening day, with goals coming from Alexis Sánchez, Valdivia and Beausejour. In their second game against Spain, they put on a fantastic performance as they beat the current World and European champions 2-0, with goals from Vargas and Aránguiz proving the difference before the break. Last time out they faced the Netherlands, with both sides knowing victory would see them top the group. The Dutch prevailed in that game, but Chile finished second with an impressive 6 point tally from a tough group. Their best result against Brazil in recent times is a 2-2 draw in the same stadium as they face off in this time, González and Vargas the goalscorers. To their credit, Scolari has openly admitted he wanted to avoid Chile, and it is sure to be another open game between the two sides. Both to score and Brazil to come out on top is my prediction for the game.
The second game of the day sees Colombia face Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro. Colombia have looked impressive so far in topping Group C with a 100% record. Their campaign started with a 3-0 victory against Greece, Pablo Armero, Teó Gutiérrez and James Rodríguez. Monaco midfielder Rodríguez was on target again in the second game, with Quintero grabbing the other goal of the game in a 2-1 win against Côte d’Ivoire. Colombia then sealed top spot with a 4-1 victory against Japan on Tuesday, with a penalty from Cuadrado, a double from Porto striker Jackson Martínez and another from Rodríguez ensuring the 100% record. The Monaco midfielder has become the golden boy for Colombia, and it’s easy to see why based on his performances so far in this tournament. Colombia are undefeated in their last 10 games, although they lost 2-0 last time out against Uruguay in September last year.
Uruguay have been dealt a blow in their preparations by the ban of Luis Suárez, after the Liverpool striker was again guilty of biting in their final group game against Italy. Uruguay began the tournament slowly, and went down 3-1 to the surprise team of the group Costa Rica, Cavani with their only goal, coming from the penalty spot, in Fortaleza. Luis Suárez was missing that day as he recovered from a knee injury, but he made a major impact on his return, leading his team to a 2-1 win against England, scoring both goals that day. The final game against Italy saw a winner takes all scenario. Italy were reduced to 10 men as Claudio Marchisio saw red for a high challenge, before Suárez and Chiellini then came together in the now infamous incident, the Uruguayan striker biting into the shoulder of the Juventus defender. The referee bizarrely failed to take action, and minutes later Diego Godín grabbed the goal that saw his team progress to the last 16. There is no doubting Suárez is the difference for Uruguay, and without him I can’t see Uruguay being able to get too much joy against Colombia, whose attack should prove too slick for the Uruguayans. Colombia win for me, this one.Share this: