Brazil and Colombia will meet late Thursday night in what could be a thrilling affair. Ahead of this encounter, Brazil top Group C after securing a last-minute 2-1 victory over Peru in their opening game. In contrast, Colombia slumped to a frustrating 1-0 loss against Venezuela. Another loss for Colombia will but end their Copa America hopes.
While Brazil seem to have a competitive team ready for every tournament, Colombia are not often quite so blessed. At present, though, they have a golden generation of players. Led by the devastating attacking talent who is James Rodríguez, other key players include Radamel Falcao, Carlos Bacca, ¬Jackson Martínez, and Cuadrado.
Pressure is the overriding theme of this fixture. For Brazil, they are under pressure to improve the quality of their performances as they seek to atone for last summer’s humiliating 7-1 World Cup exit at the hands of Germany. Meanwhile, Colombia are under pressure to make the most of their finest squad players in over a decade. Reputation is at stake here for both teams.
Under two-time head coach Carlos Dunga, Brazil generally play a 4-2-3-1. Against Venezuela, Dunga chose to start with Neymar wide on the left, while Diego Tardelli was up front with Fred in the hole. Surprisingly, Dunga is starting with Fred rather than the more successful Roberto Firminio. The resolute Dunga could hold firm with this setup after winning his first game.
Colombia played with the odd 4-2-2-2 formation favoured by head coach José Pékerman, formerly of Argentina. The extremely narrow style of the formation benefitted neither Rodríguez nor winger Cuadrado, both of whom had to operate in cramped spaces. The Colombians could only muster two shots on target from 59% possession.
Brazil are operating with a naturally balanced formation and have the attacking midfielders capable of filling the positions. In spite of a tough first game, they already have a win and are capable of adding a second at the expense of the uncertain Colombia.
Tip one: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.15 with Betfair
Tip two: Brazil to win @ 2.00 with Betfair
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Brazil play Colombia in the 2015 Copa America this Thursday 18 June.