A chance to rise up the 2018 World Cup qualifying standings is on the line when Brazil host Peru in Tuesday night’s matchup at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Selecao and the recently on-fire Neymar are in pursuit of just their second victory in these early stages of qualifying, having fallen at Chile before holding off Venezuela and then drawing against rival Argentina last week.
But the way Brazil manager Dunga explained it, his squad is progressing and building with each game.
“These latest qualifiers show what the classification is like,'' Dunga said, according to ESPNFC. “We have to win at home and away and try to generate some points, win some or draw.
“The result in Argentina was good. Now we should improve our play and play better against Peru.''
Selecao required a late goal in the closing minutes of added time from Douglas Costa in order to draw with Argentina, and they could certainly use more scoring power from Neymar to climb up from fourth place on the CONMEBOL table where perfect Ecuador currently reigns.
The 23-year-old Neymar, however, hasn’t been able to project his glowing recent success with Barcelona onto the international stage. He’s scored 15 goals and assisted another six for club, but during the early stages of World Cup qualification, he has appeared in just one match and failed to score. Neymar figures to torture a Peru side that hasn’t won away from its home since 2004.
But manager Ricardo Gareca’s side are currently eighth on the 10-team CONMEBOL table after claiming a 1-0 victory over Paraguay three days ago in Lima. And last month they pushed second-place Chile to the brink and nearly came out victorious in a 4-3 loss, highlighted by forward Jefferson Farfan’s first-half brace.
Farfan and his attack may have an easier task of scoring on Brazil with defender David Luiz serving a one-game ban for his two bookings against Argentina last week. The PSG star has already returned to Paris and Dunga called up 23-year-old Atletico Mineiro defender Jemerson to add depth with Corinthians defender Gil expected to fill in for Luiz in the starting XI, according to Goal.com.
Peru is also dealing with injury but will get winger Christian Cueva back from a suspension. Gareca, however, won’t have midfielder Juan Manuel Vargas or forward Andre Carrillo at his disposal due to injuries. Cueva’s scored one goal in 18 career international games.
Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
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