Brazil vs South Korea Prediction
5thd December 2022
22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT
Stadium 974, Doha
Referee: Clément Turpin (France)
Click to Scroll to Prediction
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Brazil vs South Korea Prediction Match Overview
Brazil vs South Korea sees both sides vying for a place in the quarter-finals to face the winners of Japan vs Croatia. Despite a setback in their final group game against Cameroon after resting players for the knockout stage, Brazil topped the group courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Serbia and a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. Considered to be tournament favourites by fans, journalists and pundits alike coming into the competition, it’s perhaps fair to say that Brazil produced their finest performance in their game against Serbia, during which the Brazilians were utterly dominant. Though football is a team game first and foremost, we can’t help but point out that Neymar was sorely missed and this was reflected in subsequent performances and finally in a disappointing injury time defeat against Cameroon.
Against all expectations, South Korea have reached the knockout stage for the third time in their history. The Koreans were written off by virtually everybody after a 3-2 defeat against Ghana, during which they clawed their way back from 2-0 down. An insipid 0-0 draw against Uruguay in their group opener meant that they had to beat a Portugal side who had one eye already on the knockout phase, but still fielded a team full of high-level players. Falling behind after just five minutes, the Koreans surely feared the worst, but an equaliser from Kim Young-Gwon midway through the first half levelled proceedings and kept them in contention for qualification. With Portugal content to coast through the second half, the Koreans were the bigger threat and eventually their considerable efforts were rewarded with a 91st-minute Hwang Hee-Chan winner which saw them eliminate Uruguay who had done their part by beating Ghana 2-0.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Sandro (Brazil); Kim Min-jae (South Korea)
Will not play: Jesus, Telles (Brazil)
Brazil vs South Korea Prediction Analysis
Getting the Balance Right
Though the Brazilians were never in any real danger of failing to progress, they were far more impressive against Serbia in their group opener than in their 1-0 victory over Switzerland and 1-0 defeat to Cameroon. Though this may seem reductionist, the absence of Neymar’s playmaking abilities seemed to be self-evident in their performances and results. Neymar was at the heart of much of Brazil’s best passages of play, and they will welcome his return here. In their match against Serbia, Brazil started with what seemed to be a highly attacking lineup on paper and they were hugely impressive, playing a fluid brand of football in what was arguably the finest performance in the tournament up until that point. The subsequent two matches saw Brazil revert to their double-pivot midfield configuration with Casemiro, Fred and Fabinho all involved, and this seemed to affect the team’s ability to move the ball quickly with invention.
While tournament football can necessitate a cautious approach, the Brazilians can’t afford to find themselves chasing a goal late in the second half as they were against both Switzerland and Cameroon. For South Korea’s part, they have shown defensive vulnerability when they open up and try to play on the front foot, but here they simply have no choice. They can’t rely on keeping things tight and hoping for a promising break or a lucky goal, because Brazil have an embarrassment of riches in attack and will prove to be a different proposition compared with the teams that faced Switzerland and Serbia. The Koreans have proven to be capable of attacking swiftly and directly, and now have incorporated a target-man to lead the line in Cho Gue-sung to give them another dimension. South Korea will need to be ready to break quickly and with precision, while being mindful of Brazil’s counter-press.
Dominating the Wide Areas
If South Korea want to have a chance at progression, they’ll be required to diligently track Brazil’s wide men and full-backs, who will use the channels at every opportunity to pull South Korea’s defence around and create space for their attackers to operate in. Vinicius Jr. on the left and Raphinha on the right are both high energy inverted wingers who receive plenty of attacking support from the likes of Danilo and Alex Sandro, and therefore all of Korea’s forwards except perhaps for Cho will be required to track back and provide South Korea with the extra numbers they’ll need to snuff out the danger.
When in possession, South Korea will want to play directly and with speed, and the available space is likely to be in behind the full backs in the vacated space. They’ll be relying on the likes of Son Heung-min and Hwang Chee-han to burst forward and make intelligent decisions in transition. It’s imperative that their counterattacks are supported with numbers to avoid them running down blind alleys or failing to pick out a suitable passing option. Another reason why these areas of the pitch will come into focus is the presence of Brazil’s Richarlison. When provided with high quality service, Richarlison is a master of improvisation and also has a competent aerial game that will necessitate some attention from the South Korean defence.
The Midfield Battle
Brazil are likely to revert to the approach that saw them dismantle Serbia so impressively, and this will necessitate sacrificing a defensive-minded player for Neymar’s return. This will require Marquinhos and one their full-backs to step into central midfield when the situation calls for it, but they handled that tactical dilemma extremely well and there’s no reason to suggest that they can’t cope with that approach here. Serbia registered zero shots on target and, while no two games are the same, it’s likely that South Korea will spend much of the game on the back-foot, chasing shadows at the hands of Brazil’s creative midfielders Neymar and Paqueta.
If the Koreans are to make headway here, it’s vital that they press aggressively but use a targeted press. It’s a well known footballing concept that the best players manage to find ways to play through the press, so the Koreans are better off holding their shape until one of Brazil’s defenders or perhaps Casemiro find themselves in possession. Protecting obvious passing lanes and forcing the Brazilians to commit more men forward may present opportunities for rapid counterattacking and it would seem self-evident that this is the most viable approach for South Korea to generate opportunities.
Brazil Key Players
The effect of Neymar’s absence was blindingly obvious in Brazil’s second and third group games. Neymar is the creative heartbeat of the team. In addition to the PSG man’s playmaking abilities, Neymar often requires multiple opposition players to keep him quiet, and this in turn opens up space for his team mates. Brazil will be looking to Neymar in particular to get on the ball and look to create opportunities early on. The longer the game remains at 0-0, the more the Koreans will be able to settle and try to pick the Brazilians off on the counter, and therefore they’ll need another big game from Neymar as Brazil looked laborious at times during his absence.
It’s possible that Brazil could find themselves out-numbered in midfield at times with others from wide positions and defence required to slot in, and it’s going to be Casemiro’s responsibility to control the middle of the park through his excellent reading of the game. For this ultra-attacking setup to function at it’s best, they will need Casemiro in particular to identify and help nullify South Korea’s counterattacking threat. Casemiro also offers a valuable outlet to recycle possession, which is something the Brazilians will require as they pick and probe away at the South Koreans looking for the right moment to attack directly with speed.
South Korea Key Players
We anticipate that many of you will be shocked by the Spurs man’s inclusion. Simply put, Son is South Korea’s principle attacking threat, but more importantly, he is brilliant at driving into space with the ball and looking to forge opportunities both for himself and others. Also, in a match of this variety in which the Koreans will find themselves outclassed at times and without the ball for long periods, Son also possesses a high work rate and will be looking to press Brazil’s more defensively minded players when they have possession of the ball. Son can also be relied upon to track back and help the Koreans contain the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Jr.
In order to have any success in this game, South Korea will need to be competitive in the middle of the park and Jung Woo-young was impressive last time out against the Portuguese with a highly energetic performance. At times, when in possession it will seem like the Brazilians have 12 men out there, and Jung will be required to tirelessly harrass and harry the likes of Neymar and Paqueta. South Korea’s attacking threat will mostly be of a reactive nature in this game, looking to take advantage of the spaces that the Brazilians will vacate and for them to be at their most effective they’ll need to win the ball back quickly.
Brazil vs South Korea Prediction
Brazil vs South Korea is likely to yield a straightforward victory for Brazil, and a return to the kind of form they displayed against the Serbians. The Brazilians will likely have far too much for South Korea here, with the caveat that they employ a similar tactic to their opening group game against Serbia. They possess too many attacking threats to deal with effectively over the course of 90 minutes, and it’s inevitable that the Koreans will eventually make or be forced into making defensive mistakes. We expect these lapses to be duly punished by a forward line consisting of Vinicius Jr. Richarlison and Raphinha, and we believe that Brazil’s creative central midfield will help to carve out enough chances to ensure Brazil’s smooth progression.
Beat the Bookmaker Verdict:
US and Canada only. Please gamble responsibly.