It’s a clash of the titans on Thursday as Brazil and Uruguay go head-to-head in a game that could book the visitors their place in Russia
Brazil and Uruguay have shared memorable moments throughout history, and their football rivalry is one of the fiercest in South America.
From the famous Maracanazo in 1950, where the hosts lost the World Cup in the dying minutes in Rio de Janeiro in front of around 200 thousand fans, in what is still considered one of the biggest football upsets in football history to Pelé’s legendary dummy in the semi-final of the World Cup in 1970, where Brazil eventually advanced and won the tournament.
Not forgetting Romário’s legendary performance in the 1993 World Cup qualifiers, which sealed Brazil’s qualification after being on the danger zone, or Paulinho’s goal-winning header in the semi-final of the Confederations Cup in 2013.
Will the next meeting in Montevideo, between the two South American giants turn-out to be yet another classic?
The five-times world champions enter the game with confidence high following six wins in six World Cup qualifiers under Tite – who has just completed his ninth month in charge of the team. On the other hand, Uruguay are unbeaten at home since 2010, and 70-year old Oscar Tabarez is the longest serving coach in South America, having been appointed in 2006.
The odds are high on ‘La Celeste’ to be the first team to cause an upset and end Adenor Bacchi’s honeymoon start to his managerial career on an international level. The Centenario stadium in Uruguay’s capital has been sold out, and the fans will certainly form an electric atmosphere to provide their support. For in the end, the game is between the leaders and the runners-up.
Mathematically, Brazil can guarantee qualification in the next two games. A win in Montevideo might be enough, depending on the outcome of the other matches taking part. Otherwise, qualification would have to wait until next week at the Arena Corinthians, against Paraguay.
The motivation is very big for Tite’s men to secure their ticket to Russia, right from this round. It would open the space for the coach to test new players and experiment with different tactics. It is worth noting that Brazil is the only team in history, to have participated in every single edition of the World Cup.
Unfortunately, Uruguay are set to miss goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and the talismanic Luis Suarez through suspension, whereas Brazil will be without the services of Douglas Costa and Gabriel Jesus, who have both picked-up injuries with their European clubs. However, both sides can still rely on some of their most experienced stars to make the difference – such as Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani, Marcelo and Neymar.
Oscar Tabarez has already made it clear in his pre-match press conference, that Uruguay’s objective will be to nullify Brazil’s attacks, to try their best in order to kill off their creativity. And as the last few games have proven, the Uruguayans have scored goals from set-pieces more than anyone else in these qualifiers. It will be one of their deadliest weapons. Knowing Tabarez’s team, Uruguay will certainly enter the game with very aggressive marking. Renato Augusto has already warned that the clash promises to be just like a Copa Libertadores game, where physicality often makes the difference.
On home soil, Uruguay have won all of their six games, having scored sixteen goals and only conceded one – an impressive positive goal difference of 15 goals. Copa America winners Chile and World Cup ¼ finalists Colombia have both suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat in Montevideo. Tite has been warned!
Will the experienced Libertadores and club World Cup winner, find the necessary tactical solutions to stop Uruguay’s remarkable home record, or will Brazil turn-out to be just another victim of the two-time World Champions? You certainly would not want to miss the meeting between the two South American footballing-giants on Thursday!