The five-time world champions and football’s most iconic nation – Brazil will take center stage as they face Serbia in their opening encounter of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Brazil have always brought flair to the international stage and despite a decade of struggles, they arrive in Qatar as favourites to go all the way. Neymar and co. will undoubtedly have both their eyes on the esteemed trophy, but they face an opponent who are themselves trying to create history.
Serbia are one of the dark horses of the tournament with the team striking balance this time around. The attack led by Aleksandar Mitrovic is one to watch out for, as Dragan Stojkovic has excellent talents and depth at his disposal. The game against Brazil will test their mettle, but this tournament is developing a reputation for the underdog teams to cause upsets.
When and Where?
Date: 24 November 2022.
Time: 8:00 PM CET.
Venue: Lusail Stadium, Qatar.
Brazil have a fully fit squad with Antony and Bruno Guimaraes recovering from their respective injuries. The fullback spot is up for grabs between Danilo and Dani Alves on the right and Alex Telles and Alex Sandro on the left, but it is rumored that Tite is set to start Danilo and Telles on the flanks. Casemiro is a key outlet with Lucas Paqueta partnering him, whilst Thiago Silva and Marquinhos could start as the center halves.
Serbia will be sweating at the prospect of missing Aleksandar Mitrovic as he is yet to fully recover from a foot injury he suffered last month. But they have an able replacement in Luka Jovic, who could get the nod alongside Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic. It will also be interesting to see who Stojkovic opts for in midfield as Sasa Lukic is in fine form and Nemanja Gudelj is an important figure in the team.
Brazil have been untouchable in the group stages of the World Cup with their last defeat coming at the hands of Norway during the 1998 World Cup. However, they haven’t lifted the trophy for two decades and this could prove to be a perfect opportunity to redeem their recent failures. Neymar and Vinicius Junior are set to start together, and their combination could cause Serbia enormous problems down the left side.
A team built around none other than Neymar, Brazil are fluid and look to create overloads in the wide areas with the likes of Raphinha and Vinicius taking on the fullbacks. Richarlison has been a revelation for the national side, but if the Seleção needs a game-changer, they have got various options on the bench with Jesus, Martinelli, and Antony.
Serbia play in a 3-4-1-2 system with Dusan Tadic behind the two strikers. They are direct in possession and overload the box in numbers when their wingbacks receive possession. Phillip Kostic is a weapon for Stojkovic’s side and his crosses are dangerous and could trouble their opponents. Overall, they have an in-form attack backed by a solid midfield, but their defense could be exposed, especially with Brazil boasting a host of attacking talents. This game could be won by the team who defends their penalty area better since both sides are adept at attacking the box in numbers.
Premier League players to keep an eye out for
Brazil have plenty of players from the Premier League, starting with Alisson in goal. Thiago Silva, Lucas Paqueta, and Casemiro are set to start with Richarlison as the number nine. Paqueta is certainly a player to watch out for. The former Lyon man has struggled to hit the ground running at West Ham United, but his exploits in the national team are breathtaking. He plays a key role in Tite’s side alongside Casemiro and acts as a link between the defense and the attack.
Gabriel Jesus, Bruno Guimaraes, Antony, and Martinelli will start from the bench, but all four players have been playing well for their respective clubs and Tite could depend on them if things go south. For Serbia, Aleksandar Mitrovic is the player to watch out for, but his injury troubles mean he could start as a substitute. Nevertheless, he has been on fire for Serbia recently and is a great option to have on the bench.
Brazil predicted lineup vs Serbia: Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Telles; Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Richarlison.
Serbia predicted lineup vs Brazil: V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Lukic, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Tadic; Vlahovic, Jovic.