Estadio Monumental David Arellano, Santiago de Chile
17 June 2015 0100 UTC
The most anticipated group-stage match of the Copa Am rica takes place on Wednesday night at the Estadio Monumental David Arellano in Santiago as Jos P kermana s Colombia take on an in-form Brazil. A defeat for P kermana s side would leave them in a perilous position given their loss against Venezuela in the opening group game of the tournament, whilst Brazil will be looking to book their place in the quarter-finals by taking all three points.
The Sele A?o have won 11 games on the trot under Dunga following their ignominious semi-final exit at the hands of Germany in last yeara s World Cup, most of which have been inspired by their talismanic captain Neymar. Colombia, for their part, were on a run of 7 wins before their shock 1-0 defeat to Venezuela in their tournament opener. P kerman will be aware that the outcome of the game could well decide Colombiaa s fate in the tournament, and will be hoping his side can exact revenge for their defeat in the World Cup quarter-finals in Brazil.
Team news and Tactics
Dunga will be happy to welcome back Liverpool attacker Phillipe Coutinho, who missed the Sele A?oa s opener against Peru due to a minor thigh injury. That aside, Brazil appear to have a clean bill of health heading into Wednesday nighta s clash.
The tournament favourites are unlikely to deviate from their usual 4-2-3-1 formation, with Coutinho likely to start in the no.10 role behind the striker. Dunga has a decision to make regarding the position up front, where the likes of Fred, Diego Tardelli as well as Roberto Firmino would be in contention. The latter has piqued the interest of clubs in the Premier League including Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, with his agent confirming that the Hoffenheim attacker is seeking a move to England; as such, he is likely to have several interested parties watching his every move.
Although Brazil have been on a good run of form, there still appears to be a lack of fluidity in their play a the sort of attacking flair and pizzazz that one has come to associate with the great Brazilian sides. Coutinhoa s breakthrough into the Brazilian team could go a long way towards achieving that. The diminutive Liverpool midfielder possesses the flair and creativity that Brazil a apart from the obvious exception of Neymar a appear to lack at times going forward. His pace and his incisive passing will be a welcome addition to the Brazil side for this game and should help freshen up their attack.
Chelsea winger Willian could prove to be very important in this game, particularly as Colombia will look to play on the counter-attack and exploit the space that they are afforded by Brazil when the Sele A?o attack. Dani Alves is arguably the best attacking full-back in the game and will look to get forward at every opportunity. Willian, as he is for Ivanovic at club level, could prove to be useful cover. Neymar and Coutinho, whilst brilliant going forward, are not a factor defensively, and it will fall upon the Chelsea man to drop back and join the likes of Fernandinho and Elias in mitigating the threat of James Rodr guez and company.
Possible starting XI: Jefferson, Dani Alves, Miranda, David Luiz, Filipe Lu s, Fernandinho, Elias, Willian, Coutinho, Neymar (c), Diego Tardelli
Jos P kerman should have a fully fit squad to choose from heading into this crucial Group C encounter on Wednesday night, and is likely to use the same 4-2-2-2 formation against Brazil as he did against Venezuela. Los Cafeterosa manager appears to be calm ahead of the match, and is unlikely to make any major changes, declaring that the game against Venezuela was a a typical match in the Copa, where it always takes a little time to find the rhythma .
The lack of rhythm was quite apparent in their tournament opener, particularly in the opening stages of the match where there were a lot of fouls from either side, making it a very stop-start game. Colombia never truly managed to get going, and Venezuelaa s defensive discipline accounted for that, to some extent. However, as James Rodr guez pointed out in the pre-match press conference, Brazil are likely to leave Colombia more space given their style of play, and that could play into the Cafeterosa hands to a degree. P kermana s side are lethal on the counter-attack given the pace they have in the side with the likes of Juan Cuadrado and James Rodr guez operating behind Carlos Bacca and Radamel Falcao.
The World Cup quarter-final in Brazil was a positively ugly game with James Rodr guez and Neymar in particular targeted by the opposition, and this game could follow a similar pattern in terms of the intensity and aggression. As such, like the Venezuela game, it is unlikely that Colombia will be able to build up a head of steam, and will need to capitalise when they have the ball.
Juan Cuadrado could prove to be very important going up against Neymar and club team-mate Filipe Lu s down Colombiaa s right, both in a defensive sense a helping ZA? iga combat the threat of Neymar a and an attacking point of view given that Neymar does like to drift infield and isna t the most defensively disciplined player around, meaning that Cuadrado is likely to get the opportunity to take on Filipe Lu s in a one-on-one situation.
Possible starting XI: Ospina, ZA? iga, Zapata, Murillo, Armero, SA?nchez, Valencia, Cuadrado, James Rodr guez, Falcao (c), Bacca
- Brazil have won every single game (11) under new manager Dunga after he replaced Luis Felipe Scolari following the World Cup debacle.
- If P kermana s side were to win, it would be Colombiaa s first triumph over Brazil in nearly two and a half decades. Their last win came in the Copa Am rica in 1991.
- After the equaliser against Peru in their tournament opener, Brazil captain Neymar is now just six shy of reaching a half-century of goals for his country a with an incredible 44 goals in 64 appearances at the age of 23.
- With his goal against Costa Rica in a preparatory game one week before the tournament proper, Colombia skipper Radamel Falcao became the Cafeterosa all-time top-scorer with 25 goals.
- Till date, Colombia are the only team alongside Jamaica who have yet to register a goal in the tournament.
Player to watch
The likes of Neymar and James Rodr guez could well stamp their authority on this game, but Radamel Falcao is the man to watch. It has emerged that the former Atl tico Madrid hitman is close to finalising a move to Premier League champions Chelsea following a disappointing season with Manchester United, and the Colombian skipper will have a point to prove given the additional attention he will inevitably attract following the news. With three goals in his last four games for Los Cafeteros, Falcao will be looking to step up and make the difference for his side in this crucial Group C encounter.
Brazil 1 a 1 Colombia
Colombia will be desperate to avoid defeat in this game and should be able to get a goal if Brazila s less-than-convincing defensive display against Peru is anything to go by. It is unlikely that Brazil will go without scoring, however, meaning that this is likely to end in a draw.