The 2014 FIFA World Cup finally gets underway tomorrow morning; with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia at Arena de Sao Paulo.
Brazil are clear favourites to win the 2014 World Cup and anything other than a convincing performance and a big victory against Croatia in their opening fixture will lead to the pressure mounting on the home side.
There are an amazing range of World Cup betting markets that are available for every single game throughout the tournament, with Ladbrokes Australia offering over thirty different betting markets on the opening game alone, and our team of sports betting experts will be coming up with the best World Cup betting plays for every fixture.
How They Will Play
Brazil have returned to their attacking roots since their uncharacteristically conservative performance under Dunga at the last World Cup and returning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has bought the best out of the side since taking over from Mano Menezes in 2013.
Scolari will set up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation that proved extremely successful during Brazil’s dominant performance during the 2013 Confederations Cup. Fiuminense striker Fred will start up front as a target man, which allows the exciting and creative Neymar to float in a wing roll alongside Oscar and Hulk.
The World Cup winning manager has toughened up the Brazilian defense, which struggled under his predecessor, but his system still allows defenders like Dani Alves and Marcelo the opportunity to get forward. Arguably, the key player in the entire system is holding midfielder Luiz Gustavo who has balanced out the side and plugs the hole that can be left between the defensive line and the Brazilian attackers when the side is pushing for.
Brazil will be putting the pressure on Croatia from the opening whistle and they should dominate possession especially in the early stages of the match.
Player To Watch – Neymar
Neymar is one of the most exciting players in world football and it is he that Brazilian fans believe can give their country their first World Cup victory since 2002. The 22-year-old was the star performer for Brazil during the Confederations Cup and if Croatia are any chance of walking away from this game with a point they will need to shut down the Barcelona star.
How They Will Play
Croatian Manager Niko Kovac likes his sides to play flowing and attractive football, but in practice he is a disciplined coach who will make sure that his team is set up defensively. Croatia failed to dominate possession in the majority of their qualifying fixtures, but showed no hesitation to get forward when they had the football and they were vicious on the counter attack.
Against Brazil, Kovac will set up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with two holding midfielders sitting in front of the defensive line, and it will be no surprise to see every Croatian player behind the ball when they are not in possession of the football.
Croatia will be hoping that they can come out of this opening fixture with as little damage to their for and against as possible and they are unlikely to push the issue, even if they go down an early goal. This does not mean that are not capable of getting on the scoreboard as they can be very dangerous when given the opportunity to hit sides on the counter attack.
Player To Watch – Luka Modric
Luka Modric remains the star of the Croatian side and the play maker will need to be at his very best to steer his side to an upset result. Modric generally plays as a holding midfielder for the national side and this is one of the reasons that he has not been a prolific goal scorer for Croatia.
The pressure is on Brazil to get a result, but the more that you analyse the game the tougher it is to see the Brazilians walking away with anything other than the three points. The Brazilians will dominate possession and, while we are not expecting a blow-out, that continuous pressure should prove too much for the Croatians.
Brazil have not been beaten on their home soil since 2002 and that is unlikely to change tomorrow morning.
Brazil vs Croatia World Cup Betting Plays
Brazil are currently available at 2014 World Cup odds of $1.30 to beat Croatia at Ladbrokes.com.au, with Croatia available at a quote of $10 and that does not represent a great deal of value, but there are still a number of different betting options that are well worth a play.
Brazil to win 2-0 at odds of $5 is a good World Cup betting play and the $2.80 on offer for Brazil to win both halves is another play worth considering.
Neymar is the obvious play for first goalscorer, but he does not represent value at only $4,
World Cup Betting Promotions
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au is offering a number of special offers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup clash between Brazil and Croatia. Punters who believe that Brazil will win by three or more goals can take the odds of $4, while Fred to score at any time and Brazil to win the match is priced at $2.5.
Those looking to take a punt on an upset results can take advantage of the attractive price of $34 on offer for Luka Modric to score at any time and Croatia to win the match.