Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has said that he is still working toward identifying his best squad for next year’s World Cup as the Selecao prepare to face Russia at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
“I have played only two games so far with this squad,” he said, according to AFP. “I'm happy as we are improving little by little and I believe that maybe in four months' time, when we have played the Confederations Cup, we will have seen more than 60 players for the World Cup and we may have an idea toward who will be the ones [to make the final squad.”
Scolari will be returning to the ground where he managed Chelsea in a short and unsuccessful reign in the 2008-09 season and has defended his record this week. He is expected to make three changes to the side that took on Italy in Geneva, with Thiago Silva likely to come in along with Kaka and his Real Madrid teammate Marcelo.
It is again likely to be a strong test for Brazil as they prepare for the pressure of hosting the World Cup. Russia are undefeated since Fabio Capello took over as manager following their exit at Euro 2012. With maximum points from their four matches they are four points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group despite having played a game less than rivals Israel and Portugal.
Russia have endured a frustrating past few days, however, having had their qualifier against Northern Ireland postponed on Friday and Saturday due to poor weather.
G: Julio Cesar
D: Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo
M: Fernando, Hernanes
Oscar, Kaka, Neymar
D: Anyukov, V. Berezoutski, Ignashevich, A. Berezoutski
M: Fayzulin, Tarasov
Bystrov, Shirokov, Dzagoev
Prediction: Brazil, although outplayed for large spells, were much improved against Italy in comparison to their defeat against England. A key part of that showing was perhaps the best performance by Neymar against leading opposition. The defense should be helped against Russia by the return to the side of Thiago Silva behind the strict defensive midfielder Fernando.
Russia, though, are a well-drilled side under Capello and are unlikely to offer Brazil the kind of openings on the break that a positive Italian side afforded the likes of Neymar and Oscar. A tight draw could well be on the cards.
Brazil 1-1 Russia
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick-off at 3.30 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by beIN Sport. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.