Considered by many as a good candidate to progress at the 2022 World Cup, five-time world champion Brazil will begin their Group G campaign against Serbia at Lusail Stadium on Thursday.
The two nations will get to know each other after facing in the group stage four years ago when the Selecao topped the group with a 2-0 win.
When: Thursday, 10 pm (19:00 GMT)
Where: Lusail Stadium
Brazil went to Qatar as the only country in World Cup history to qualify for every tournament since its first hosting in 1930 following a record-breaking CONMEBOL qualifying campaign, racking up multiple points ( 45) more than ever after winning 14 and drawing three out of their 17 matches.
The Selecao have rarely struggled in qualifying and they have also had few problems in the group stage over the years, as they are unbeaten in their last 15 World Cup group stage matches since a 1-2 loss to Norway in 2016 1998.
However, 20 years have passed since Brazil’s fifth World Cup in Seoul, and pressure is mounting on Tite’s talented squad – ranked number one in the world by FIFA – to meet the deadline. ahead of the tournament and improve in their quarter – the final against Belgium 4 years ago.
Serbia will be the first country to put Brazil’s credentials to the challenge, but the Selecao are showing confidence ahead of Thursday’s encounter as they boast a 15-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, winning all The last 7 matches in this process with the final score of 26-2.
Brazil has won both of their previous encounters with Serbia without conceding a goal, and a 0-1 defeat to South American rivals Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final was the last time Tite’s men had to admit defeat in any of the tournaments. which tournament.
After being eliminated in the group stage at the previous three World Cup finals since independence in 1990, there is a sense of optimism that Serbia can finally reach the knockout stages for the first time Qatar.
The Eagles, ranked 25th in the world by FIFA, impressed in UEFA qualifying and topped the table after winning six and drawing two of their eight matches, including a suffocating 2-1 victory over Portugal in their last match.
Dragan Stojkovic’s side then secured promotion to League A of the UEFA Nations League earlier this year, thanks to four wins and one draw in six matches. Indeed, a 0-1 loss to Norway in June was one of only two defeats in their last 16 international matches in all competitions.
Brazilian coach Tite is set to have a perfect fit squad for Thursday’s competition, with Antony, Bruno Guimaraes, and Alex Telles all recovering from minor problems.
If reports are to be believed, Selecao could deploy a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with captain Thiago Silva starting in a four-man defence alongside Danilo, Marquinhos, and Alex Sandro, cover first.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Richarlison, who has been recovering from a calf injury during the World Cup, will be given the nod to Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus for the top spot.
On the Serbia side, Aleksandar Mitrovic is still not fully recovered from an ankle injury and is expected to come off the bench, with Luka Jovic starting alongside Dusan Vlahovic.
Stojkovic is set to return to a three-man defense after lining up with four at the back in a friendly against Bahrain 5-1 last week, with Strahinja Pavlovic hoping to join Nikola Milenkovic and Stefan Mitrovic in the position of central defender.
All three defenders could be tasked with shielding goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who is expected to start against Marko Dmitrovic and Predrag Rajkovic despite only seven caps for the national team.
Brazil’s possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison
Serbia’s possible starting lineup:
V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Tadic; Vlahovic, Jovic
Brazil 3-1 Serbia