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Nic Ladds 24th Jun 2010 - 20:46

Don't be Melo, Brazil are Fab!

Brazil and Portugal are, barring a nine goal swing between the Ivory Coast and Portugal, both safely in to the next round and this match has the potential to be an absolute cracker as they both can concentrate fully on the football.

Portugal (23/10) looked a bit nervous in their opening stalemate against Ivory Coast but soon got over that as they smashed North Korea 7-0 in their second match in a scintillating second half display of attacking football.

Brazil (23/20) have played some nice stuff in both their matches. The 2-1 scoreline in their first match flattered North Korea somewhat and their 3-1 win over Ivory Coast was scrappy at times but totally comfortable.

It is important not to get carried away with the manner in which Portugal won against North Korea. It was 1-0 at half time and although they did play some amazing stuff, you have to remember they were playing one of the lowest ever ranked teams in the World Cup.

Brazil have been among the favourites to lift the trophy right from the start and maximum points from their first two games has just cemented their place as the most fancied team along with the Spanish.

Dunga has transformed Brazil from a team of brilliant individuals full of flair, that wasn't always successful, into a hard working team that can grind out results, even when the big stars aren't performing.

Their reliance on defensive, holding midfielders was almost unheard of in Brazil teams past but Felipe Melo and Gilberto Silva are vital for creating the space for Brazil's attacking players to roam free.

It is down to this new system Brazil are so effective and is also why I think they are a cracking price to get the win over Portugal in this match. Not only are Brazil amazing on the attack, their keeper and defence are so solid they don't concede many at the other end.

Historically, Brazil are pretty impressive against Portugal too. They have won 12 of the previous 18 meetings, and as Brazil have lost just one of their last 32 World Cup group matches - I really can't see Portugal winning this one.

I am slightly wary of the draw, which is why I would cover myself on the Brazil draw no bet market at 1/2.

In terms of a goalscorer bet, look no further than Brazilian forward Luis Fabiano. He smashed in two goals against Ivory Coast to open his World Cup account. He has 27 goals in 40 appearances for his national side and is 5/1 to score first in this match.

Fabiano also has a habit of scoring more than one goal in a match for Brazil. 17 of his last 21 international goals have come as part of a brace or hat-trick which makes the 6/1 on him to score two or more at any time a great bet.

Portugal are obviously an impressive side and will be coming in to the match on a high after their smashing of North Korea. I just feel Brazil will be too strong across the park for them and Brazil will join some big named sides in the next round with maximum nine points.



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