It’s been quite a while since Uruguay last beat Brazil in an official match, and it seems like their chances of doing it in the Confederations Cup semifinal aren’t that great to begin with.
It was in the qualifying stages of the 2002 World Cup, with Uruguay hosting Brazil, winning thanks to a Federico Mallaganes goal. In Brazil itself, the last time Uruguay won was the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup. 1950, on the day they say an entire nation cried and mourned as the World Cup was snatched away from them.
But things have changed in more than 60 years. The ancient rivalry is still there, but there’s no doubt who is the favorite going into the match. The success of Uruguay over the last few years has faded into a struggle, finding themselves with an aging squad when it comes to the key players, and a lot of trouble when it comes to securing their place in the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil, on the other hand, feel more confident than they’ve felt in four years. Neymar is scoring a goal per match, and that’s without having a team like Tahiti to plump up his scoring record. Brazil played well against Italy, and seem to be ready for the physical encounter that will ensue against Uruguay.
The name of the game for Brazil will be getting Neymar and Oscar as involved as possible during the match, while Luis Gustavo will probably drop back more than usual in order to help Marcelo more than others in the one on ones he’s bound to face Luis Suarez in.
For Uruguay, it’ll be about giving no space, or at least trying to deny it, from Neymar and Oscar, while hoping Diego Lugano can handle Fred, who finally showed up for the tournament with an impressive two goal performance against Italy.
Uruguay will be about trying to create one on one chances for Luis Suarez through Edinson Cavani generating attention in the middle, while the inclusion of Diego Forlan in such a match, possibly a bit too adventurous considering the rival, will probably be brought on only in the second half.
Predictions – Uruguay played well against Nigeria, which was enough to put them in the semifinal. As Brazil have proven against three World Cup caliber sides, not to mention the Italians, Scolari has them on the right path towards becoming a much stronger team than they were a year ago, strong enough to beat Uruguay and reach the final of the competition.