HOW will Brazil cope without skipper and star man Neymar? Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) takes a look at their final Group C encounter with Venezuela.
Brazil v Venezuela | Sunday 22.30 | Premier Sports
Nearly a year on from their World Cup embarrassment, Brazil could be facing more pain on the international stage. Their first defeat to Colombia since 1991 received global attention following the sending off and tantrum from star man Neymar; the Barcelona striker and Samba Boys skipper has now been suspended for four fixtures, ruling him out of the tournament.
Without Neymar at the World Cup, Brazil famously lost 7-1 against Germany in the semi-finals before also losing the third-place play-off 3-0 against the Netherlands. Diego Tardelli and Roberto Firmino will be hoping to shoulder the Selecao‘s attacking burden but Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho could be handed Neymar’s role as the Samba Boys look to recover.
Brazil’s problem is fixable but I’m not quite sure they have the ability to turn their plight around in just a few days. For too long now, the Selecao have relied on Neymar’s genius to win matches, opting for a conservative and functional counter-attacking approach rather than the traditional swagger and joga bonito style that made the nation famous.
Avoiding defeat should secure a place in the knockout places but Dunga’s men have been far from their best in Chile and may find the going tough against Venezuela on Sunday night. Brazil required a last-minute winner in their opener against Peru before that well deserved defeat against the Colombians.
Venezuela battled to a 1-0 victory over Colombia in their curtain-raiser before going down to Peru. Noel Sanvincente’s side played for over an hour with 10 men in that loss with Fernando Amorebieta dismissed but still managed to restrict the Peruvians to just one shot-on-target. La Vinotinto have proven a tough nut to crack and should be able to frustrate a Brazilian side lacking leadership and their match-winner superstar.
Venezuela have lost just three of their past 13 Copa America matches and their stubborn style has caused plenty of better teams than the current Brazil crop problems in this competition. In fact, La Vinotinto have suffered just one defeat in their previous four meetings with Brazil and should Sanvincente’s troops produce a repeat of the resolute rearguard display we saw against Colombia, they’ll be well able to pinch a point.
With that in mind, Venezuela make an interest bet at the odd odds-against quotes of 1030/1000 with Ladbrokes with a +1 Asian Handicap start. With this selection we’ll get our cash back should Brazil squeeze out a one-goal victory but a draw or surprise win for the underdogs will see us paid out. It’s a selection that would have won in the last two meetings between the nations and looks a solid play for the Group C concluder.
Brazil v Venezuela – Venezuela +1 Asian Handicap (1030/1000 Ladbrokes)
Brazil 4/1 To Beat Venezuela With Betfair
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