With the first two quarterfinals done and dusted, and after the resounding, undeniable success of yesterday’s predictions, enjoy Man On!'s foray into the next two games the Copa has to offer...
First up, Brazil. Like Argentina, guilty of some well-publicised underwhelming performances before springing to life in their final group game. Against Ecuador, Pato and Neymar opened their accounts with two goals each, but the concerns remain that Brazil would benefit from a true centre-forward. Despite goals for the two strikers, the change in Brazil’s fortunes didn’t come from up front, but at right back. Maicon came in for the underperforming Dani Alves and made a real difference to the balance of the side, contributing an assist. His performance certainly warrants another start on Sunday.
In Brazil’s quarterfinal the opponents come in the familiar shape of Paraguay. When the two sides met in the group stage, only Fred’s last minute goal denied Paraguay what would have been a famous victory, and they will be full of confidence that they can repeat the heroics of one week ago, especially as Brazil are unlikely to add a focal-point to their attack in the shape of a true number 9. This game sees the tournament’s two top-scoring sides face-off, but don’t necessarily expect goals galore. With the caution that comes with a previous encounter under their belts and on a poor pitch in La Plata, both teams will also be desperate to avoid adding to their ample ‘goals conceded’ column as well.
Quarterfinal prediction Brazil 1-1 Paraguay, Brazil to win on penalties.
After the underperformance of all the seeds in this competition, many people would point to Chile as a team with the potential to go all the way. Talismanic striker Humberto Suazo is yet to find the net and despite scoring the equaliser against Uruguay Alexis Sanchez has not played as well as he is capable of. All the same, Chile put in some good performances so far and are perhaps the most well-balanced side in the entire competition. The attractive football that many of you will remember from the World Cup is continuing into the Copa, but as always the Chileans don’t throw caution to the wind and tend not to push on until mid-way through the second half.
The last side to make up the quarterfinals are the unbeaten Vinotinto, Venezuela. Definitely the opponents that the Chileans would have chosen themselves but underestimate them at your peril. On paper, more of a force going forward than reliable at the back, but something of an anomaly in the game against Paraguay might be skewing that figure. In reality, the Venezuelans certainly know how to defend, as they showed against Brazil and Ecuador. Cesar Farias’ side can be astoundingly resilient and might spring a surprise here.
Quarterfinal prediction Chile 1-0 Venezuela
Man On! are fortunate enough to be heading to La Plata this afternoon, and will be no doubt spanking all our hard earned cash on Quilmes, Choris and betting against Brazil. Don’t follow our lead, you saw how yesterday’s predictions went!