Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Prediction: Brazil vs Chile

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

As the only Conmebol side to have booked a ticket to Russia, Brazil head into the high-profile clash with Chile in relaxed manner, which cannot be said of La Roja, who sit just one point above sixth-placed Argentina and could miss out on World Cup qualification if they lose at Allianz Parque in Sao Paulo.

Brazil

Brazil have come a long way since the 2-0 defeat to Chile in the opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, having recorded impressive 11 wins and 5 draws since to create a 10-point cushion at the top of the standings ahead of the final game of the campaign. The team have progressed a great deal under Tite, and they will head to Russia as one of the main candidates for the coveted title. The interesting fact is that only three players who started said fixture against Chile are still considered first team regulars and with Marcelo sidelined, only Dani Alves and Joao Miranda should also start the return match. Following the difficult match in Bolivia that ended goalless, Tite could decide to rest some of his regular starters, with the likes of Marquinhos, Willian, Fernandinho and Roberto Firmino pushing for starting berths. Brazil have been pretty impressive on home soil in the current campaign, winning seven of eight games, as second-placed Uruguay were the only side to escape unbeaten. And having kept five clean sheets in the process, the Selecao have plenty of reason for optimism ahead of the Chile game.

Team News

PSG captain Thiago Silva misses out through injury, with Rodrigo Caio called as a replacement, and Marquinhos set to take his place in the heart of defence.

Chile

Despite sitting in third position ahead of the final day of fixtures, Chile could easily miss out on automatic qualifying berth if they fail to get at least one point from the game with Brazil. La Furia Roja have enjoyed the most successful period in the national team history, having won back to back Copa America trophies, but they have so far been unable to get past the Last 16 stage at the World Cup finals, so no doubts they are very motivated to book a ticket to Russia and prove their worth at the biggest stage. Chile made a mess out of their qualifying campaign with defeats to Paraguay and Bolivia in September, but they showed a great deal of character to recover from a late equaliser against Ecuador, with Alexis Sanchez scoring the winner just a minute later. As a result, La Roja are in a decent position ahead of the Brazil game, but if Argentina and Paraguay both win, they will need at least one point to make it through. But, while Chile did win two away games in the current campaign and also shared spoils with Colombia on the road, it is important to note that lost four of last five, scoring just once in the process.

Team News

Head coach Pizzi faces serious selection problems as Charles Aranguiz is almost certain to miss out through injury, while Esteban Paredes has yet to recover from illness.

The good news is that Edson Puch will be back to the squad after attending the funeral of his relative in Iquique.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Brazil won seven of last eight WC qualifiers at home (D1)
  • The Selecao kept five clean sheets in the process
  • Chile lost four of last five WC qualifiers on the road (D1)
  • La Roja failed to score in last four of those matches
  • Brazil won seven of last nine meetings vs Chile (D1 L1)

Conclusion

In-form Brazil will not care much about Chile’s qualifying chances, but will rather be looking to get revenge for the 2-0 defeat in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier. Considering that La Roja largely struggle on the road and will also be under a great deal of pressure, we are tempted to back the Selecao to claim maximum points.

Verdict: Home win

Best Odds: 4/5

Bookmaker: William Hill

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