The World Cup favourites will open their tournament against Serbia at Lusail Stadium.
Brazil enter the 2022 FIFA World Cup as favourites to win the trophy for the sixth time, and they kick off their Group H campaign against Serbia on Thursday, November 24.
The manager is dealing with several selection issues ahead of the game at Lusail Stadium.
Perhaps Tite’s most difficult decision will be in his forward line: Richarlison started Brazil’s warm-up triumph over Tunisia as the centre forward. He might dethrone Gabriel Jesus, while Raphinha’s two goals in that game may be enough to earn him a starting spot.
Kick off : 12:30 AM (IST), 7 PM (GMT)
Brazil form (All competitions): W-W-W-W-W-W
Serbia form (All competitions): W-W-W-D-W-W
Players to Watch
Without any doubt, Neymar is the talisman of the squad. Brazil will rely on his efficiency once again to take the team ahead in the tournament. Some have also called it ‘Neymar’s Year’. Fans are hoping for the magic to happen at this FIFA World Cup to see him lift the trophy if supposedly this is his last World Cup. Neymar has scored 11 goals and has nine assists for PSG in Ligue 1 this season. He gives that edge to the Selecao that can possibly help them lift the FIFA World Cup after two decades.
Alexander Mitrovic is the key player in this strong Serbian squad. If they are to pull off an upset, Mitrovic’s presence in the squad is something coach Dragan Stojkovic will be looking to. Serbia topped the qualifying group in which Mitrovic scored eight goals in eight matches. In the Premier League, he has netted nine goals in 12 games for Fulham. However, the striker is currently struggling with a foot injury.
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Injury & Team News
Tite is equipped with one of the best teams in the competition. Alisson, Marquinhos, Neymar, and Vinicius Jr. will all be trying to help Brazil add to their record-breaking World Cup titles.
Given the calibre of players selected, it’s a shame that Roberto Firmino and Gabriel didn’t cut. Bruno Guimaraes may not be ready for the first game after limping out of pre-game practice. Despite having a great team, Serbia has received less attention than their formidable initial opponents.
As a result of a recent foot injury, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic will be eager to return for the opening match. He has promised that he will be ready to play. However, Serbia has several offensive options, including Dusan Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic.
It was reported this week that Vinicius Jr. was practising with the first team in Brazil. However, Tite will likely start Fred and Casemiro instead since he wants two defensive midfielders to create a more balanced team. Thiago Silva, formerly of PSG but now at Chelsea, will lead the club as captain and reunite with Marquinhos in the defence.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has missed the last month’s action with Fulham due to injury, looks ready to play for Serbia immediately. However, Dusan Vlahovic and Luka Jovic are likely to start up top, so the striker might not start.
While Dragan Stojkovic has favoured a 3-5-2 formation in recent months, he opted for a 4-3-3 in the triumph against Bahrain last week. Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are likely to start for Serbia and can play multiple positions in the midfield, giving their manager a wide range of choices.
Brazil and Serbia have only twice gone head-to-head against each other. Serbia last played their game against Brazil in the 2018 World Cup in Russi, which the Selecao won by two goals to nil.
Brazil XI (4-2-3-1)
Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro; Fred, Casemiro; Neymar, Paqueta, Raphinha; Richarlison.
Serbia XI (3-4-1-2)
V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic; Kostic; Vlahovic, Tadic.
Brazil vs Serbia Prediction:
Brazil to win: 64%. Serbia is to win 15%. Draw: 21%.
Brazil are the favourites, but both teams could face challenges.
Since the last World Cup, Tite’s side has become more fluid, with Neymar often playing as a No. 10 or farther forward. Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Junior, Gabriel Martinelli, Raphinha, Antony, Richarlison, and Gabriel Jesus helped Brazil score 40 goals in qualification.
Bruno Guimaraes, Martinelli, Antony, and Richarlison won the Olympics last summer. Even if Brazil dominates possession, Serbia can cause difficulties. Mitrovic isn’t their only danger. The Fulham striker said he was nearing the end of his foot injury recuperation last week, but Dragan Stojkovic knows how the Serbia squad play even if he’s not healthy.
In qualifying, they primarily employed 3-4-3 and 3-5-2. They had more direct attacks (19 starting in their half and ending in a shot or touch within the opponent’s penalty area inside 15 seconds) than any European team in qualifying. Andrija Zivkovic and Filip Kostic create threats as wing-backs, whipping in crosses for Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic or clipping passes over the top. Brazil should push themselves early but beware of Serbia.