Brazil v Russia Preview
Brazil face Russia in Moscow on Friday as Tite continues his preparations for this summer’s World Cup. This round of March friendlies accord quite openly with the coach’s preparations. Friday’s match in Moscow gives the Seleção a chance to play in Russia- this summer’s hosts. Though the temperatures should be a little kinder come June, it’s still a good opportunity for the squad to become more familiar with their surroundings.
But Russia will provide a similar level of opposition to Switzerland and Serbia- both of whom await Brazil in the World Cup group stages. Tite’s men struggled to break down a very conservative England side at Wembley in November and it has set the coach on a train of thought as to how to break down more defensive sides.
Tite has begun to contemplate removing Renato Augusto from the midfield in such games in favour of another attacker, such as Willian. Casemiro and Paulinho are certainties in the midfield, regardless of the opponent. Against deeper defences, Tite will experiment with Coutinho in a more central, deeper role, with Willian moving over onto the right hand side and Douglas Costa playing from the left.
Tite has also spoken about squeezing Roberto Firmino into the team for these games. With Neymar absent, the Liverpool man will almost certainly get the chance to replace Neymar in this round of matches. Globo reports that Renato Augusto, who has only played three times in 2018 as the Chinese season has only just started, will be replaced by Willian in Moscow.
The Germany match on Tuesday is designed to prepare the team for the knockout phase of the World Cup, should they qualify. Tite is likely to select something close to his first choice team in both games, preferring to assess fringe squad players in training. The Seleção coach explained that Willian José and Talisca were called up due to their ability to create aerial threat in the penalty area, which is seen as another route to breaking down stubborn defences.
In terms of team news, Neymar is unavailable due to a foot injury, while Filipe Luis and Alex Sandro have also pulled out of the squad due to injury troubles. Marquinhos has suffered from a tight calf in training, so Thiago Silva will likely start in central defence.
PREDICTED LINE-UP; 1.ALISSON, 2.DANI ALVES, 3.MIRANDA, 14.THIAGO SILVA, 12.MARCELO, 5.CASEMIRO, 15.PAULINHO, 11.COUTINHO, 19.WILLIAN, 17.D.COSTA, 9.G.JESUS.