Duel repeats clash of previous World Cup, won by Brazilians
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Published on 11/24/2022 - 07:00 By Lincoln Chaves - Reporter for TV Brasil and Rádio Nacional - São Paulo
Brazil's journey in search of the six starts this Thursday (24). Starting at 4 pm (Brasília time), Tite's team will face Serbia, at Estádio de Lusail, for the first round of Group G of the World Cup.
Brazilians and Serbs meet again in a World Cup four years after facing each other in the first phase of the previous edition, in Russia. At the time, the Canarinho team won 2-0, with goals from defender Thiago Silva (who is part of the current selection) and defensive midfielder Paulinho.
The Europeans, in turn, won the final of the 2015 U-20 World Championship (New Zealand). Serbia won 2-1, in overtime (midfielder Andreas Pereira scored for the Brazilians). From the champion squad seven years ago, seven athletes are on the team that traveled to Qatar, among them midfielders Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (chosen as the third best player of the tournament) and Nemanja Maksimovic (who scored the winning goal). Brazil, on the other hand, had striker Gabriel Jesus, called by Tite, as a starter.
The 5-1 thrashing of Tunisia, at the Parc des Princes, in Paris (France), on the last September 27th, gave final numbers to the Brazilian team's preparation cycle, which began on July 7th, 2018, one day after the 2-1 defeat by Belgium, in the quarterfinals of the Russian Cup. There were 37 wins, ten draws and three setbacks, with an 80.6% success rate and one title, the 2019 Copa América, won on green and yellow ground.
Tite watched 87 players in the cycle, with 63 going on the field. It was in the final stretch of the journey towards Qatar, however, that the Brazilian coach came to the conclusion of the ideal team (or something close to it), with the bet on the youth of names like midfielder Lucas Paquetá and forwards Vinícius Júnior, Raphinha, Antony and Rodrygo, under the baton of Neymar, in the third World Cup of the star's career.
In a press conference last Wednesday (23), Tite avoided confirming the lineup that he will send to the field this Thursday, but made it clear that the tactical variations are those known to the fans. The main doubt is whether the coach will move into midfield with Fred along with Casemiro and Paquetá (as he has done in most of the last few games) or whether he will repeat the strategy adopted in the 3-0 victory over Ghana, in Le Havre (France). , on the last September 22nd, with Neymar in the role of main articulator of plays and an offensive trio at the forefront, with Vinícius Júnior starting alongside Raphinha and Richarlison.
The probable Brazil will have: Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Lucas Paquetá and Neymar; Vinícius Júnior (Fred), Richarlison and Raphinha. Of them, only Alisson, Danilo, Thiago Silva, Casemiro and Neymar have played in a World Cup. Marquinhos was called up in 2018, but stayed on the bench.
In Serbia, coach Dragan Stojkovic confirmed that he will have Alexsandar Mitrovic at his disposal, recovered from a foot injury suffered at the end of October. The striker from Fulham (England) is the biggest offensive bet of the European team, with nine goals in 12 games in the season. The coach, however, admitted that Filip Kostic is doubtful, since the midfielder is still not 100% recovered from an injury he suffered defending Juventus (Italy).
Thus, the Serbian team must go to the field with: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Nikola Milenkovic, Milos Veljkovic and Strahinja Pavlovic; Andrija Zivkovic, Nemanja Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Filip Mladenovic and Dusan Tadic; Alexsandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic.
In addition to Serbia, Brazil will face Switzerland and Cameroon in Group G. The other members of the group will also play this Thursday, but starting at 7am, at the Al Janoub Stadium, in the city of Al Wakrah.