Fickle crowd and packed defence await Brazil

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The Independent Online

Brazil face their least favourite scenario on Wednesday when they will have to try and break down a packed Colombian defence in their World Cup qualifier while having a fickle home crowd on their backs.

Dunga's team, helped by the return of Kaka, revived their campaign with an easy 4-0 win in Venezuela on Sunday when the hosts played into their hands by coming out to attack and leaving huge spaces at the back.

But home matches for Brazil can be a real trial.

Visiting teams invariably shut up shop, yet the home crowd expect the five-times world champions to put on a show and quickly get restless if they are forced to watch a battle of attrition.

Brazil struggled to beat Uruguay 2-1 at home last November, were held 0-0 by Argentina in June and suffered the indignity of playing out a goalless stalemate with rank outsiders Bolivia last month.

In the last two matches, the home crowd called for Dunga to quit and began cheering their opponents in the second half.

Kaka's presence should give Brazil much more of a cutting edge this time, although Dunga often appears to be his own worst enemy as he packs the rest of the midfield with tackling specialists.

"It's going to be difficult against Colombia, we have to be prepared," said Dunga. "With the help of the supporters, we can change this situation."

Despite their inconsistent form, Brazil are a comfortable second in the 10-team South American group.

Dunga's side have 16 points from nine games - exactly half the campaign - and should have little trouble in maintaining their 100 percent attendance record at the World Cup.

Colombia, who last qualified in 1998, made a bright start to the campaign but have lost their last three games without scoring, replacing coach Jorge Luis Pinto with Eduardo Lara and dropping to seventh with 10 points in the process.

Their real problem has been in attack, where they have scored only four goals, although Lara's priority at the Maracana will be at the other end and the coach is expected to pack the defence in the hope of forcing a draw.

Teams:

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Juan, Kleber; Gilberto Silva, Josue, Elano, Kaka; Robinho, Jo

Colombia: Agustin Julio; Yulian Anchico, Mario Yepes, Luis Amaranto Perea, Mauricio Casierra; Fabian Vargas, Fredy Guarin, Gerardo Bedoya, Juan Carlos Toja; Carlos Darwin Quintero, Wason Renteria

Referee: Ruben Selman (Chile)

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