Holland V Brazil Preview: Odds and Betting Tips – Friday, 2nd July (Quarter-Final)
Holland V Brazil Preview
Kick-off: Friday, 2nd July – 15:00 GMT
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
World Cup Quarter-Final
The Dutch have won every World Cup encounter up till now but will be hard-pressed to retain their flawless run at these finals when they face the five-time winners Brazil in Port Elizabeth on Friday in a match which promises to be a thriller. It’s true that Bert Van Mariwjk’s Holland haven’t yet turned on the style since arriving in South Africa a little over two weeks ago, neither have they broken a sweat in reaching the last-eight, so there should be a lot more to come from Oranje but have they left it too late?
Because of the way they dismantled both Hungary and Ghana directly before the finals, winning 6-1 and 4-1 respectively, Holland were all the rage in the outright market pre-tournament, storming into contention from around 16/1 all the way down to 8/1. A lot was expected from them, especially in a weak looking Group E, so to see them just one of their four matches up till this stage by more than a one goal margin does seem both a surprise and a tad bemusing. You could argue that Holland haven’t spent as much energy as some of the other nations still plugging along, which you maybe right, but by the same token it could be said that nerves have restricted the Dutch in these finals, as their usual free-flowing, sexy football hasn’t been present in South Africa. Whether or nor that’s a direct result of Van Mariwjk looking to fortify a well-known weak area of the Holland system – Defence – remains to be seen.
Fortunately Bert Van Marwijk won’t be weighed down with any injury concerns, nor will he be bogged down by selection dilemmas caused by suspensions, so it’s full steam ahead for Holland. Robin Van Persie has found the goal just once in four starts but is likely to lead the line once again, although the return of Arjen Robben out on the right-wing should provide the Arsenal supremo with more scoring opportunities, as Robben is undoubtedly in the form of his life at present and will once again be in his menacing mood down the flank, cutting inside whenever possible to have a cheeky pop at goal. The wide areas could prove key for Holland, with Kuyt on the left and Robben on the right complimented by the craftsmanship of Wesley Sneijder in the centre. All three have the ability to either create or score chances, but fans will be hoping they won’t be reliant on the goals scored by their play-makers and instead hope their lone striker, Robin Van Persie, will find his scoring boots on Friday.
The ‘Samba Kings’ will be aiming to complete a hat-trick over Holland as they bid to make more progress in search of an unprecedented sixth FIFA World Cup title. Brazil have won the previous two meetings with Oranje when it comes to World Cup clashes, but there’s little doubt the Dutch will provide the newly consigned tournament favourites with their biggest challenge yet against a team not too dissimilar to themselves in that of Holland.
Three wins (Ivory Coast, North Korea and Chile) and a draw (Portugal) were enough to see Brazil sneak in front of Spain in the outright market, with Brazil mow a general 3.50 to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup. They certainly haven’t been their captivating selves but they have been efficient and workmanlike, with Dunga instilling some combative qualities into Selecao. Some corners claim Brazil play with more caution, no longer a team with flair and flamboyant traits, but when you’re winning and playing in the manner in which Brazil currently are, which is basically winning games at a cantor without any hint whatsoever of a mishap, then whose to argue that Dunga’s revamp has been a huge success. From an English viewpoint, we would kill to have a change in fortune like that, not that Brazil were in any which way on the decline.
Dunga has had to repel a heap load of stinging criticism during his time as Brazil coach, aiming to win the World Cup as both a manager and a player, but the former 1994 winner has risen above all the low-blow comments to guide Brazil into the last-eight of a competition they are hotly tipped to go on and claim. However, on Friday, Dunga will need to make some of the big decisions since taking up the helm. His camp has already been rocked by the news that Elano is out of the Holland clash with a shin injury, while a crucial part of the Brazil cog, Felipe Melo, may also miss this Dutch date. Furthermore, a likely replacement for Melo would have been Ramires but his second caution of the tournament against Chile means he will serve out a one-game suspension. It leaves Dunga pondering over whether to opt for Kleberson or the untested Josue in the heart of the Brazil midfield alongside the consistent Gilberto Silva. Either way, it’s a midfield partnership which hasn’t had a lot of time to blossom nor gel.
Brazil have been clinical and efficient so far, a far cry from when they won the 2002 finals in Asia, not overexerting themselves in progressing into the quarter-finals for a fourteenth occasion. And with injuries limiting Dunga’s options ahead of this clash, Brazil may well need their workmanlike and combative qualities against an opponent which will put them through their paces. They will also need their goal-getter, Luis Fabiano, to be in a hungry mood as well as the old Kaka turning up for a change. Basically, Brazil need their stars to shine, as while the South Americans may be favourites there is absolutely no room for let up or complacency.
Our Betting Tip: Holland to WIN – 4.50 Bet365
We predicted Holland would win the 2010 FIFA World Cup right at the very beginning, so we would be foolish to oppose them now. If anything, we’ve been impressed with the Dutch despite Van Marwijk’s men not playing the delightful football displayed during pre-World Cup preparation. They haven’t expended a great deal of energy while a tidy defence has been the basis for a successful tournament thus far, so there’s plenty to be optimistic about as Holland have shown promise. We await to see whether that promise can be fulfilled by a country which does have a terrible knack of disappointing in the defining games, but there has been a more consistent feel to this Dutch side that previously hasn’t been evident, and with half-a-dozen match winners likely to line up on Friday in their biggest game of the competition so far, we have every faith that they’ll not only push Brazil all the way but claim their scalp.
Recommended Bet: Robin Van Persie FGS – 9.00 Coral
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