Brazil profile – Dunga’s men favourites for more than one reason
While Brazil’s seamless progression from a tough group will have unnerved the other teams left, their exposition of style and steel against Chile will have opponents running scared. They are 2/5 to qualify past Holland and 9/4 favourites for the cup.
Julio Cesar is the first Brazil keeper in ages to be regarded as one of the best in the world and after a remarkable season with Inter Milan it’s easy to see why. Effortlessly imposing and almost mistake-proof – he was not at fault for either of the two goals conceded so far. 6/4 for another Brazil clean sheet looks tempting.
The rock-solid base of Brazil’s team has Dunga’s fingerprints all over it. All the defenders are strong in the tackle, tactically astute and not afraid to mix pretty passing with hoofs up-field. Captain Lucio is a ball-playing colossus who can already be considered as vital to Brazil as Fabio Cannavaro was to Italy four years ago. Under 1.5 goals for Holland seems near assured at 1/3.
Maicon and Juan have already scored the openers in important games and are 20/1 and 33/1 to break the deadlock against Holland.
Arsenal fans will be wondering why they let veteran Gilberto Silva go after his glossy displays in the centre of the park. His partner in crime Felipe Melo has been majestic but only has a “40 per cent chance” of facing Holland with Ramires, impressive against Chile, suspended. Manchester United-reject Kleberson, a star in the 2002 win, would likely come in.
Elano started the tournament well, scoring twice, but hasn’t featured since going off injured against Ivory Coast. Limped out of training today suggesting Dani Alves will continue in his place. With his free-kick potential the Barca man looks good for first goalscorer at 20/1.
Kaka, Robinho and Luis Fabiano formed a glittering triumvirate against Chile and all look in top nick. Fabiano (7/2 to get the Golden Shoe) is 4/1 to score first, with Robinho a 6/1 chance and Kaka at 8/1.
With those three in fine fettle, backing over 1.5 goals for Brazil seems wise. It’s an Evens shot that would have returned money in seven out of their last eight games.