Brazil will lock horns with Chile, whereas, Colombia meet Uruguay on Saturday, as the knock-out stage is set to take off. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung feels the host nation will win the game against Chile. He also feels that Uruguay will miss their star striker Luis Suarez in today`s tie.
Excerpts from the conversation:
Do you think Brazil are the favourites to win the game against Chile?
Yes. Brazil are certainly the favourites today. Brazil are playing at home and with the fans behind them along with Neymar`s impressive performances so far, they shall beat Chile and go into the next round.
But few critics are of the view that Brazil haven`t yet played the kind of football they are known for?
In the first two matches Brazil haven`t played beautiful football, which they are known for. But in their last or third game of the group stages, the host country played like a unit. And another important aspect is that they are peaking at the right time.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the home team Brazil?
When it comes to strengths their forward line is quite strong. Neymar is performing. Fred has also scored a goal in the last match. Hulk, though, hasn`t played the kind of football he is known for, I think Brazil`s forward line will perform today. Then Brazil have a solid goalkeeper in Julio Cesar. He too hasn`t been tested much in the on-going World Cup, but he is in good form. The only weakness is their defense-line. Especially, the left side defense where Daniel Alves plays. They conceded two goal in this World Cup and both came from left.
What your take on Chile?
Chile are playing awesome football. They did the biggest upset of this World Cup by beating the title holders Spain. And they have some exciting footballers in their team, like their striker Alexis Sanchez, who too play for Barcelona like Neymar and has a better record while playing for the club than the Brazilian poster boy. Though Sanchez hasn`t scored too many goals but the way he is leading his team is amazing. Chile`s counter attack is their strength, as they too have a strong forward line, which is quite swift. Along with Sanchez, Arturo Vidal is also a player to watch out for. But their biggest weakness is their defense. Against free-kicks, corners, crosses their defenders look quite vulnerable.
What`s your prediction for the second match, which is between Colombia and Uruguay?
Both the teams are at the same level. But yes, Uruguay will miss their controversial star striker Luis Suarez, who has been banned for next four months by FIFA. We have seen, how his presence can make a difference in the side. He didn`t play in the first match and Uruguay lost the game. In the next two games against the world champions Spain and Italy they won because he performed. So Uruguay are going to miss Suarez for sure.