The opening game of the 2014 World Cup round of sixteen features under pressure hosts Brazil taking on South American rivals Chile at Estadio Mineirao at 2am (AEST) Sunday morning.
Brazil progressed to the second round of the 2014 World Cup without losing a game, but they were far from perfect in their three matches and there are some question marks over the tournament favourites heading into the knockout stages.
The Brazilians were far from convincing in their opening fixture against Croatia, were unable to break down Mexico and showed signs of defensive vulnerability in their final pool game against Cameroon.
Striker Fred finally got on the score sheet for Brazil against Cameroon, but it remains to be seen whether the veteran striker is the right foil for superstar Neymar and there have been calls for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to replace the under fire veteran with Jo.
The major bright spot for Brazil during the tournament to date has been the superb form of Neymar and the 22-year-old has shown no indication that he is struggling with the pressure heaped on him by the public that believes he will lead Brazil to another World Cup crown.
Neymar will be the key figure for Brazil against Chile, but it will be the Brazilian defensive line of Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Marcelo that will be under the most pressure in this round of 16 clash.
Silva and Alves have both been exposed at times during the tournament and both Luiz and Marcelo will need to be careful that they don’t push up too aggressively when Brazil are in possession and allow themselves to be caught on the break by Chilean speedsters Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas.
Chile have been most impressive during the 2014 World Cup to date and they have got out of a tough group with six points to their name, but face a tough assignment against Brazil in the round of 16.
The Chileans dominated possession in their matches with Australia and Netherlands, but were happy to sit back and play on the counter attack against Spain; with both set of tactics proving relatively successful for the side.
Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli has an interesting dilemma on his hands heading into this clash and will need to decide whether he is going to take the attack to Chile, possibly exposing his side in defense, or sit back and allow Brazil to dominate possession.
How Sampaoli opts to set up his side could go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game and based on the form of both sides during this tournament to date, the attacking option may prove the most fruitful for his side.
Brazil are currently clear favourites to progress to the quarter finals and are available at odds of $1.57 with Ladbrokes.com.au to win the game in regular time, while Chile are available at the lucrative odds of $5.50 to win in regular time.
Based on their form at the tournament to date, the odds on offer for Brazil seem fairly short, but when you look at the recent history between these two sides it is not hard to see why Brazil are such short priced favourites, as they have won nine out of the past 11 clashes between these sides and have not been beaten by Chile since 2000.
This game could prove to be a high scoring affair and the odds of $2.70 for there to be over three and a half goals scored and the $1.76 on offer for both teams to score represents good value.
Leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au is offering a range of special betting markets during the 2014 World Cup and there is great value available in their promotional market for this contest.
Punters confident of a Brazil victory can claim the $3 on offer for Fred to score in normal time and Brazil to win in normal time, while the $10 available for Alexis Sanchez to score in normal time is good value.