Brazil Brazil vs. USA USA

Sunday, July 10th 2011, 17.30 CET

Of all the matches in the quarter finals of this year’s Women’s World Cup, this last one is by far the most balanced, and interesting to watch. I’m not saying the others are not worth watching, on the contrary! But there’s something special when the best team in the world (USA) plays against the 3rd best and definitely the most spectacular team in the world (Brazil). It’s a clash between giants, one that the USA tried, but failed to avoid in the match against Sweden. Now, shaken by their first ever loss in the group stages on Wednesday, will the best team in the world defend their reputation? Or will the Brazilian dribbling skills prove to be too much for the shaky US defense?

For me, this game is the toughest to predict of all the quarter finals played this weekend. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the two teams, combine their playing styles and see what comes out of it! Take Brazil first. Though extraordinary in their dribbling skills, the Brazilian girls never won a world cup. Ironic, right? Considering their men’s squad won 5. Nevertheless, they’re not the world’s number 3 for no reason. They always impress, and don’t think only about Marta. Sure, she’s been playing up to her reputation as the world’s best football player, with 2 goals and 2 assists so far. But even without Marta, the Brazilians have other world class players: Rosana and Cristiane both scored two goals each, and the Brazilian goalkeeper didn’t miss a single ball so far. This means Brazil is the only team with a clean sheet, and along with Germany and France, their 7 goals are the most scored by any team.

The United States of America have a different story. The two-times world champions have just been defeated for the first time ever in the group stages, 2-1 by Sweden. Something definitely didn’t work in the North American defense, something that has to be changed ahead of the clash against Brazil. One thing they don’t have to change though is their goalkeeper, Hope Solo. She had a great run so far, conceding only 2 goals (against Sweden: one penalty and one diverted free kick). She also had a great performance in the US’s 2008 game against Brazil, which the Americans won 1 to nothing. Add to that the appearance of Abby Wambach, USA’s top striker, and Heather O’Reilly, who missed the game against Sweden. These girls cover the attack brilliantly, but coach Pia Sundhage has to make some changes in the defense if they are to withstand the force of the scoring-happy Brazilian attack.

Looking at their previous encounters, the US won their last 4 matches against Brazil, all with a 1-0 score. However, in China during the last Women’s World Cup, Brazil won by 4-0! Only Germany was able to stop them, in the final! Statistically, both the US and Brazil have a huge apetite for goals, and this makes the 02.5 an attractive bet. At 1.9 odds on Bwin, I will take that for 2 units. Also, I’m staking 2 units on Both to score at 1.75 odds on Bwin. Finally, 1 unit goes on a Brazilian victory at 2.25 odds.

Prediction: O2.5 for 2 units, both to score for 2 units, Brazil to win for 1 unit.

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