Brazil tune up nicely two months out from World Cup


Brazil stepped up their World Cup preparations with a pair of friendlies in France as the African duo of Ghana and Tunisia were disposed of with ease.

Le Havre was the perhaps strange choice of venue for the match against the ‘Black Stars’ on Friday with Tottenham striker Richarlison notching twice in a comfortable 3-0 win.

Marquinhos opened the scoring, which was all done in the first half as coach Tite made six substitutions to experiment in the second half.

Richarlison was also on the scoresheet as Tunisia were beaten 5-1 in Paris but it Raphinha who took the headlines on this occasion, bagging a brace with Neymar and Pedro helping themselves to a goal each.

It has helped showcase the embarrassment of riches Brazil have in attack which has many people tipping the five-time winners to make it number six in Qatar.

A potential front three of Raphinha, Neymar and Vinicius Junior is more reminiscent of some of the famous Brazilian attacks in the past rather than recent versions featuring the likes of Fred and Hulk.

Richarlison looks like the first port of call should changes need to be made but the squad depth is frightening. Rodrygo, Pedro, Antony, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Matheus Cunha and Roberto Firmino are just some of the names in the frame to make the 26 man squad. The Arsenal duo were not even called up this time around.

The attack may be where the star power lies but that is not to say other departments are not also well stocked.

‘A Selecao’ boast two of the worlds finest goalkeepers battling it out for the starting jersey in Ederson and Alisson.

Marquinhos and Thiago Silva started the friendlies in the centre of defence with Serie A duo Bremer and Roger Ibanez in reserve. Gabriel Magalhaes of Arsenal was sitting watching from home.

Casemiro offers the protection in midfield with Fabinho as good a deputy as you are likely to find. Fred of Manchester United is also a firm favourite of Tite.

West Ham’s new arrival Lucas Paqueta offers something different from the middle as opposed to the abundance of options on the wings, with Philippe Coutinho hoping to hit some form in the next two months to force his way back in. Bruno Guimaraes is another midfield option.

It’s perhaps the full back areas that are the main area of weakness but attacking flair from those areas may not be needed as much, such is the strength further up the field.

Alex Telles got the nod for the two friendlies at left-back with Eder Militao and Danilo getting a game each on the opposite flank. Militao of course will be hoping to shift inside and claim a starting slot in the heart of the defence.

Brazil coasted through qualifying but haven’t reached the final now since their last victory in 2002. It is hard to argue against the fact that this is the strongest squad in years and offers the best chance of another triumph 20 years on.

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