Monday, 14 October 2013

Brazil-Zambia Preview: Selecao seek fourth straight win

0 vs 0
Pre Match
October 15, 2013 12:45 PM WAT
Beijing National Stadium — Beijing

Brazil-Zambia Preview: Selecao seek fourth straight win

Luiz Felipe Scolari's side continue their build-up to next summer's World Cup with a clash in China, as the likes of Pato and Hernanes vie for a starting spot

Brazil will be gunning for a fourth straight victory when they go head-to-head with managerless Zambia in Beijing on Tuesday.

The 2014 World Cup hosts' most recent success came in a 2-0 victory over South Korea in Seoul on Saturday, as a sublime Neymar free-kick and a strike from Oscar ensured a comfortable triumph.

That victory arrived following consecutive victories over Australia and Portugal in September and means Brazil head into the fixture at the Beijing National Stadium in high spirits.

The five-time world champions will be without goalkeeper Julio Cesar (finger), defender Thiago Silva (thigh) and striker Fred (thigh) against the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions.

Consequently, Scolari may decide to give the likes of Alexandre Pato, Ramires and Hernanes an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting place, with all three players having been named among the substitutes against South Korea.

Brazil appear to be hitting form at the right time ahead of next year's showpiece, having lost just twice in 2013, against England and Switzerland, while they also won the Confederations Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 final victory over world champions Spain in June.

Zambia, meanwhile, head into the game without a permanent head coach after Herve Renard ended his time in charge of the nation to take over at French club Sochaux last week.

Renard failed to take the country past the pool stages in World Cup qualifying, as they finished second behind Ghana in Group D.

Zambia's fate was sealed after they lost a final-game showdown with the Black Stars 2-1 in September.

Renard's former assistant Patrice Beaumelle has taken the reins on a temporary basis and will be in the dugout for the Brazil fixture.

FC Utrecht forward Jacob Mulenga is likely to lead the line for Zambia, and could provide the biggest threat to a Brazil defence missing the leadership of captain Thiago Silva. -------------

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