Brazil and Chile clash before Copa America: Neymar v Sanchez
Since Dunga returned as coach of Brazil after their World Cup disappointment on home soil last summer, no nation has scored against them in open play from seven attempts.
The Samba Boys tackle Copa America hosts Chile at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Sunday, just nine months after they edged past them on penalties in the last 16 on the global stage.
Coral make Brazil, who are looking for a 50th win in 70 head-to-heads against this opposition, odds-on 8/11 favourites for victory. Chile are 4/1 outsiders, while a draw, the result in 90 minutes of two of the last three meetings, is priced at 13/5.
A perfect seven wins from seven for the Samba Boys was preserved in midweek when they came from behind to beat France away 3-1. Such fine form is in stark contrast to Chile’s, who have just four victories from eight outings since the World Cup, and they slumped to a shock loss to Iran last time out.
This warm-up friendly between two of South America’s best has been billed as a superstar striker battle between one-time Barcelona teammates Neymar and Alexis Sanchez, who is now a Gunner and playing on his home club ground here.
Both have scored in the fixture before, but the form of these outstanding individuals reflects that of their countries.
Since injuring himself in the World Cup quarter-final against Colombia, Neymar has netted a stunning eight times in seven, which explains why he is odds-on at 10/11 in the anytime market, and better at 7/2 to grab the opener.
Sanchez, meanwhile, may have home advantage, but has struck just twice in as many outings. He is a longer anytime chance at 7/4.
Top billing rightly goes to these awesome attractions, but punters should be aware of former Manchester City forward Robinho’s presence in the Brazil squad and superb scoring record against Chile. He has struck eight times in his last five fixtures when facing them, so back him at a brilliant 7/4 anytime, or 6/1 to net last.
Other Samba Boys stars to look out for are Chelsea pair Oscar (2/1 anytime) and Willian (better at 7/2), whose influence as an international footballer has grown with a couple of goals since the World Cup and two assists helping to complete that turnaround in the Stade de France.
Dunga may be concerned by the showing the right-hand side of his defence made against Les Bleus. Porto full back and reported Real Madrid target Danilo put in poor deliveries going forward, while Atletico Madrid’s usually reliable centre half Joao Miranda was at fault for Raphael Varane scoring from a corner.
With Chile’s inconsistencies, attack remains their best form of defence, and QPR loan flop Eduardo Vargas is a different animal on international duty. He has three in his previous five for his country, and two in three against Brazil. Vargas is well worthy of consideration at odds of 11/4 to net again anytime.
Punters can expect an open affair here, and taking 9/4 on there being over 3.5 goals in this game looks a sound investment. Alternatively, back Brazil to win and both teams to score at 27/10.