You only have to look at Luiz Felipe Scolari’s latest spiky press conference to realise the amount of scrutiny Brazil are under at this World Cup.
Yet to turn in the type of performance that will banish their critics for good, the tests come thick and fast for the host nation as Colombia, the most impressive team at the tournament so far, lay in wait in the quarter final.
With his strikers misfiring and his midfield insurance policy suspended, there’s plenty of selection headaches for the former Chelsea boss. By picking our XI for the clash, which Brazil are 5/6 to win, we attempt to provide some paracetamol:
Ideally during a tournament, the defence would be the last thing a team would want to tinker with. But Luis Gustavo’s suspension may force Scolari’s hand in that respect.
The midfield anchor, who has made more interceptions than any other player in the competition, will be a huge loss for Brazil and there isn’t a natural successor in their squad to replace him.
That could mean that David Luiz steps up into the holding role, with Fernandinho keeping his place as the box-to-box man while Paulinho scratches around for form and Dante fills in at centre-back.
The remainder of the back four is expected to remain the same, although Dani Alves is leading a charmed life.
Of the front four, there’s talk that misfiring striking duo Fred and Jo may have played their last game of the tournament, with Hulk the latest lazy forward to attempt leading Brazil’s line.
However, such is Scolari’s passionate loyalty to the former Lyon striker, we can’t see anyone other than Fred starting the game and he’s 7/1 to open the scoring.
Behind him, Oscar, Neymar and Hulk will supplement the attacks.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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