Sports Mole previews Thursday’s World Cup conflict between Brazil and Serbia, together with predictions, group information and attainable lineups.
Regarded by many because the favourites to go all the best way on the 2022 World Cup, five-time world champions Brazil kick off their Group G marketing campaign towards Serbia on the Lusail Stadium on Thursday.
The two nations will renew acquaintances with each other after locking horns within the group stage 4 years in the past, when the Selecao got here out on prime with a 2-0 victory.
Brazil have arrived in Qatar as the one nation in World Cup historical past to have certified for each event for the reason that first version again in 1930 following a record-breaking CONMEBOL qualification marketing campaign, accumulating extra factors (45) than ever earlier than after profitable 14 and drawing three of their 17 matches.
The Selecao hardly ever wrestle in qualifying and so they have had few issues within the group stage through the years too, as they’re unbeaten of their final 15 World Cup group fixtures since shedding 2-1 to Norway again in 1998.
However, 20 years have handed since Brazil obtained their arms on their fifth World Cup in Seoul and the stress is on Tite‘s proficient squad – ranked primary on the earth by FIFA – to reside as much as the pre-tournament hype and enhance on their quarter-final exit towards Belgium 4 years in the past.
Serbia would be the first nation to place Brazil’s credentials to the check, however the Selecao are oozing confidence forward of Thursday’s encounter as they boast a 15-game unbeaten run throughout all competitions, profitable every of their final seven within the course of by an mixture rating of 26-2.
Brazil have gained each of their earlier two conferences towards Serbia with out conceding, and a slender 1-0 defeat to South American rivals Argentina within the 2021 Copa America last was the final time that Tite’s males suffered defeat in any competitors.
After crashing out within the group stage at their earlier three World Cup finals since gaining independence in 1990, there’s a sense of optimism that Serbia can lastly attain the knockout rounds for the primary time in Qatar.
The Eagles, ranked twenty fifth on the earth by FIFA, impressed in UEFA qualifying and topped their group after profitable six and drawing two of their eight matches, together with a last-gasp 2-1 overcome Portugal of their last fixture.
Dragan Stojkovic‘s aspect then secured promotion to League A of the UEFA Nations League earlier this 12 months, courtesy of 4 wins and a draw from six matches. Indeed, the slender 1-0 defeat towards Norway in June is one in every of solely two losses suffered of their final 16 internationals throughout all competitions.
Form on European soil has been spectacular, however transferring that onto the worldwide stage is the duty that Stojkovic and co at the moment are confronted with, and so they couldn’t start their World Cup marketing campaign towards a extra daunting prospect than five-time world champions Brazil.
Serbia have misplaced seven of their 9 World Cup matches in complete, essentially the most defeats by any European nation and only one lower than Australia’s undesirable file of eight, and a resilient efficiency is required in the event that they want to declare no less than a draw on Thursday.
Brazil type (all competitions):
Serbia type (all competitions):
If experiences are to be believed, the Selecao might deploy both a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with captain Thiago Silva beginning within the again 4 alongside Danilo, Marquinhos and Alex Sandro, shielding first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Casemiro and Lucas Paqueta are the 2 probably candidates to line up in centre-midfield, whereas star man Neymar might function within the quantity 10 function both aspect of wingers Raphinha and Vinicius Junior.
As for Serbia, Aleksandar Mitrovic has not absolutely recovered from an ankle damage and is predicted to start on the substitutes’ bench, with Luka Jovic in line to start out up entrance alongside Dusan Vlahovic.
Stojkovic is about to revert to a three-man defence after lining up with 4 on the again within the 5-1 pleasant win over Bahrain final week, with Strahinja Pavlovic hoping to affix Nikola Milenkovic and Stefan Mitrovic at centre-back.
All three defenders might be tasked with shielding goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who is predicted to start out between the sticks forward of Marko Dmitrovic and Predrag Rajkovic regardless of having gained solely seven caps for the nationwide group.
Sevilla’s Nemanja Gudelj is poised to start out in centre-midfield alongside Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, with Andrija Zivkovic and Filip Kostic offering width as wing-backs, whereas captain Dusan Tadic is about to start out within the quantity 10 function.
Brazil attainable beginning lineup:
Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison
Serbia attainable beginning lineup:
V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Tadic; Vlahovic, Jovic
We say: Brazil 3-1 Serbia
Having watched South American rivals Argentina undergo a shock defeat of their opening group recreation, Brazil can’t assume that Thursday’s contest with Serbia shall be a cakewalk and so they should be on prime of their recreation in the event that they want to make the right begin in Group G.
Nevertheless, the Selecao can take encouragement from Serbia’s leaky backline conceding in all eight of their UEFA qualifiers, and Tite’s abundance of attacking high quality ought to prevail in entrance of objective in Lusail.
For information evaluation of the probably outcomes, scorelines and extra for this match please click on right here.