Brazil are hoping to secure their place at the top of Group B in Copa America as they take on Colombia on Wednesday at Estadio Nilton Santos.
Copa America favourites Brazil are looking to continue their perfect start to the tournament when they take on Colombia at Estadio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro.
The Selecao are coming on the back of two successive wins over Venezuela and Peru, but this promises to be their toughest test yet as they take on a Colombia side, who are hoping to end their group stage campaign on a positive note.
Reinaldo Rueda’s men have already played three matches so far, starting their campaign with a 1-0 win over Ecuador before being held by Venezuela in a goalless draw last week. Their progress was further derailed by a shock defeat to Peru this past weekend, leaving them hanging with four points.
Therefore, a win against Brazil will be critical if they are to at least finish second in Group B, especially with unpredictable Peru breathing down their necks.
The equation is much simpler for the hosts, who only need a win to secure the top spot in Group B, as the defending champions continue their march towards another Copa America title.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their important match-up in Rio de Janeiro this midweek.
Team News & Tactics
Given that a positive result will help Brazil secure the top spot in Group B, Tite will be tempted to field the strongest possible lineup against a Colombia side desperate for three points. The Brazilian head coach rotated the squad heavily in their win over Peru but is expected to revert those changes for this one.
It essentially means that Richarlison might spearhead the attack, with Tite switch to a 4-3-3 in order to accommodate the additional midfielder. Ideally, it should pave the way for Gabriel Jesus and Neymar to operate out wide, while Fred is likely to occupy the vacant midfield position.
The presence of the Manchester United star should offer more balance in the Brazil midfield, especially with Fabinho and Casemiro featuring in the situational double-pivot. This should make things difficult for Colombia as far as playing through the middle is concerned, thus potentially forcing them out wide.
It bodes well for Brazil as they do have two aerial dominant centre-backs in Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, their strongest possible defensive combination, with Eder Militao likely to settle for a place on the bench.
And finally, the full-back slots are set to be occupied by Renan Lodi and Danilo, with the former replacing Alex Sandro as part of Tite’s squad rotation. Alisson, too, might get the nod ahead of Ederson, who is expected to feature in goal for the final group game against Ecuador later this month.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Silva, Lodi; Casemiro, Fred, Fabinho; Jesus, Richarlison, Neymar
Colombia coach Reinaldo Rueda will be boosted by the return of Mateus Uribe in midfield. His presence in the middle of the park should add more solidity and dynamism to Colombia’s game, especially alongside Wilmar Barrios, who has been in fine form so far in the tournament.
Given the quality of the opposition, Los Cafeteros might need the additional solidity in midfield, as these two look to cover the four-man backline consisting of Premier League duo Yerry Mina and Davinson Sanchez in the middle while Stefan Medina and William Tesillo are expected to occupy the full-back slots.
Things get interesting in the attacking department, where Colombia have truly lacked firepower so far. Despite starting two games and scoring the goal in the defeat to Peru, Miguel Borja has not done enough to impress Rueda.
As such, the 64-year-old might be tempted to call upon the services of Alfredo Morelos, whose feisty nature could keep the Brazilian backline busy, allowing wide players like Juan Cuadrado and Luiz Diaz to exploit the weak opposition full-backs.
The vacant spot in the attacking midfield is set to be occupied by Edwin Cardona. However, it won’t be surprising to see him dropping deep during the defensive phases – forming a situational 4-3-3.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Medina, Sanchez, Mina, Tesillo; Barrios, Uribe; Cuadrado, Cardona, Diaz; Morelos
- Despite meeting them on 32 occasions, Colombia have beaten Brazil only thrice, losing 19 times while drawing the other 10.
- The most recent meeting between these two nations came in an international friendly back in September 2019. It ended in a 2-2 draw, with Luis Muriel scoring a brace.
- Brazil are the only team in the tournament yet to concede a single goal. With seven goals, they are also the top scorers despite featuring in just two matches.
- Brazil are gunning for their tenth Copa America title and their sixth in ten editions. Securing the 2021 Copa America will put them just five behind record winners Uruguay.
- The Selecao are also heading into this game on the back of a nine-game winning streak, and they could hit the magic figure of ten with three points against Colombia.
Player to Watch
Neymar is undisputedly the main man for Brazil in this Copa America campaign. Although the Selecao have an exciting squad brimming with talent, the experience the former Barcelona superstar brings to the table is unparalleled while his pedigree in international competitions makes him a difficult prospect for the opposition.
Neymar has already proven to be quite useful in the tournament, scoring twice and bagging one assist in two matches. The PSG superstar will be hoping to continue his excellent form against Colombia, taking advantage of the defence that lacks cohesion and might crumble against the mighty Brazilian attack.
Brazil 2-0 Colombia
Brazil are the undoubted favourites heading into this encounter. They have the strongest team in the competition and are coming on the back of two big wins over Venezuela and Peru. They have a strong defence as well, which might make life difficult for a Colombia side that has appeared quite weak offensively. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-0 victory for the hosts this midweek.