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Bookies fancy Brazil but there's plenty of value to consider elsewhere


Kick-Off: Friday, July 2, 15:00 BST.
Port Elizabeth Stadium, Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth.

Something has to give. Between them the quarter-final opponents have gone 34 games unbeaten (Netherlands 23, Brazil 11) as we are served up a repeat of 1974, 1994 and 1998. Somebody is going home on Friday night and the bookies favour the Selecao to send the Dutch packing.

Netherlands carried their impressive pre-World Cup form into the tournament itself. Maximum points were garnered from the group stage although it took until the second half for the Dutch to see off Denmark and Japan. Their least impressive performance came last time out against the resilient Slovaks, with Robin van Persie throwing a strop when substituted.

Temperament as always remains a potential problem in the Dutch camp. However, coach Bert van Marwijk has been at pains to breed a strong team spirit in the Oranje ranks. He will need all that and more if Holland are to defeat their esteemed opponents from South America for the first time since 1974.

Brazil showed their class against an open Chile side, racing into a two-goal lead by half-time. Much has been written about the South Americans' array of attacking talent, but their defence is equally comparable, shipping just three goals in ten games.

They may lack the flair of past Brazil sides as Dunga moulds a team in his image. You certainly can't question his results, winning the Copa America in 2007 and last year's Confederations Cup. Put simply the captain of Brazil's 1994 world champions is a winner, and anything other than victory on Friday will result in national disgrace and the chop for the coach.

Brazil Tips
Dunga's team have shared the goals around, with their eight strikes coming from five different players. Elano, who has bagged two, will miss the game through injury, so Luis Fabiano will shoulder the burden of responsibility.

The Sevilla hitman, who is eyeing a move, has a superb strike rate in the tournament, scoring three goals from just four shots on target. Space will be at a premium in this quarter-final clash and Fabiano may only be presented with one chance. Form suggests he will take it.

* Luis Fabiano to score first/anytime - 5.0/2.20

Robinho has forced more shots than anybody else in the Brazil team with ten, scoring one goal so far. The livewire is 7.0 to score first and 2.62 to be on the mark at anytime.

The last two half-decent European teams Brazil met (Portugal and England) they kept clean sheets against. We know they have an outstanding defensive record so Julio Cesar to ensure another shut-out is superb value at 2.30.

Brazil tend to get the better of Holland in the crunch games, like back in 1994. With such a strong defence and potent attack they are 2.87 to win to nil. Bet Now

Netherlands Tips
Just like Brazil, the classy Dutch have spread the goals around, with their seven strikes coming from five different players.

Wesley Sneijder has maintained his superb club form at international level, dragging his country over the line with crucial goals against Japan and Slovakia. He is Holland's most potent attacking threat with 15 shots, five of which have hit the target.

* Wesley Sneijder to score first/anytime - 11.0/4.33

Arjen Robben's return to the first team has been a major plus. He's played less than 90 minutes of football but has been effective, hitting the target with all three of his shots and opening the scoring against Slovakia.

* Arjen Robben to score first/anytime - 9.0/3.75

Extra-Time/Penalties
You'll get very tasty odds on the match ending in a score draw after 90 minutes (5.50) as it did back in 1998 when Patrick Kluivert rescued Holland late on.

Dutch fans won't need reminding what happened then as they were eliminated on penalties. Four of the last eight World Cup quarter-finals have gone to extra-time, with three needing to be resolved by the dreaded spot-kicks.

* Netherlands to win in extra-time - 13.0
* Netherlands to win on penalties - 12.0


* Brazil to win in extra-time - 8.50
* Brazil to win on penalties - 11.0 
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Betting Verdict
History suggests both teams will score, the match will have at least three goals and that Brazil will ultimately prevail. Five of the last six encounters between the pair, stretching back to 1994, have produced over 2.5 goals - with three draws and two Brazil wins, one of them coming via the penalty spot in 1998.

* Over 2.5 goals - 2.12

* Both teams to score - 1.90

Both teams have performed better in the second half, scoring a total of nine goals to five in the opening 45 minutes. This game will be tight, just like the quarter-finals from four years ago - three of those were 0-0 at half-time. Only the mismatch of Italy - Ukraine broke the mould and that was only 1-0 to the Azzurri at the break.

* Half-time draw - 1.99

* Zero goals in first half - 2.65

Match Odds: Brazil 1.91, Draw 3.40, Netherlands 4.50

Local Insight
Andre Baibich, Goal.com Brazil
"It should be a very entertaining match with both squads having a lot of talented players and all of them capable of producing spectacular displays of skill. I believe Brazil has a slight edge, as the Selecao, under Dunga, has never lost to a "big" team such as the Netherlands. We came out winners against teams like Italy, England and Argentina in preparation, so I'm pretty confident that the Netherlands can be our next victim."

Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Netherlands

Wout Stravers, Goal.com Netherlands
"I think it will be a close call. Brazil are the favourites because they played very easy and fluently against Chile while the Dutch struggled all tournament long against Denmark, Japan, Cameroon and Slovakia. They never were in serious problems though but the attractive style of play has not been reached yet.

Brazil will be the first Dutch opponent which wants to attack us so there will be more space for our forward players. That will be the key. If they cannot break through it will be Brazil who reach the semi-finals. If Robben and especially Van Persie can be 'in' the match, Holland's chances are increasing, but because of the weak defence of NL I would bet on the Selecao."

Prediction: Brazil 2-1 Netherlands

Odds on Brazil 2-1 win: 8.0

Brazil to win by one goal margin: 3.40

Match Odds: Brazil 1.91, Draw 3.40, Netherlands 4.50

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Odds correct at time of publication. Goal.com encourages all readers who bet to do so sensibly.


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