Brazil will be desperate to return to winning ways when they take on South Korea at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.
The final international break of 2019 is nearly at its end, as teams wind down their commitments for the year. South American giants Brazil will be keen to put an end to their winless run when they lock horns with South Korea at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Brazil were on cloud nine in the summer as at the end of an unbeaten campaign at the Copa America, they were triumphant in the continental competition. But, since then, the Selecao are yet to win a game, most recently being beaten 1-0 by bitter rivals Argentina last week.
South Korea, on the other hand, have been on the recovery trail since their shock ouster in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup. In the nine subsequent games, the Taegeuk Warriors have not been defeated and have also started the second round of their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in solid fashion.
Brazil were victorious the last time they locked horns with South Korea, in Seoul back in October 2013, courtesy goals from Neymar and Oscar. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Heading into the latest international break, Tite made sweeping changes to his squad, with Ederson a forced absentee due to a thigh injury. Other than the Manchester City goalkeeper, Neymar and Dani Alves are other major absentees for Brazil.
The poor run of results have reportedly mounted the pressure on Tite and although there might be the urge to field a strong lineup. But, the Brazil head coach could make a few shuffles so as to instill a sense of freshness in a side that is in need of some urgency.
Alisson is likely to keep his place in goal, but defence ought to see a couple of changes, with Danilo and Thiago Silva the only ones retaining their spots. At the heart of the defence, Brazil captain Silva will likely have Marquinhos as his partner, with Renan Lodi being the left-back.
Casemiro was subjected to some crunching challenges and having played week in week out since the start of the season, the 27-year-old could be rested, with Fabinho replacing him. Lucas Paqueta could make way for Philippe Coutinho, but Arthur is expected start once again, combining with Coutinho to provide the creative spark in the final third.
Gabriel Jesus was disappointing in the defeat to Argentina and should be replaced by Richarlison, with Roberto Firmino leading the line for Brazil once again. Willian will complete the lineup for the Selecao, with Rodrygo having to suffice with a place on the bench again.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Silva, Lodi; Coutinho, Fabinho, Arthur; Richarlison, Firmino, Willian
Paulo Bento has seen two players pull out from his squad, with defender Hong Chul and Park Ji-soo ruled out due to injuries. The South Korea head coach, like his counterpart, should make a few alterations to the side that was held to a goalless draw by Lebanon last time out.
Kim Seung-gyu, though, is a certain starter in goal, with Bento expected to continue fielding his side in a 4-4-2 formation. The defence should see just one change, with Kwon Kyung-won coming into the side as Kim Young-gwon’s central defensive partner. Lee Yong and Kim Jin-su ought to retain their places as the two full-backs.
Son Heung-min will likely move out to the left side of the midfield, with Hwang Hee-chan taking the South Korea captain’s place in the strike partnership. The Red Bull Salzburg striker will partner Hwang Ui-jo upfront. Joining Son in the four-man midfield, should be Jung Woo-yong, Lee Kang-in and Kim Min-jae.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kim Seung-gyu; Lee Yong, Kim Young-gwon, Kwon, Kim Jin-su; Lee Kang-in, Jung, Kim Min-jae, Son; Hwang Hee-chan, Hwang Ui-jo
- South Korea have managed just one win in five meetings with Brazil (L4), with the solitary success coming in March 1999.
- Since their triumph at the Copa America, Brazil have failed to win any of their five subsequent games (D3 L2).
- South Korea have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four games, although two of those fixtures have ended in goalless draws.
- Brazil have failed to find the back of the net in two of their last four games, netting just once in the other two matches.
- Under the tutelage of Paulo Bento, South Korea have been beaten just once in 21 games (W12 D8).
Player to Watch
Brazil are stuttering at the moment, struggling to impose themselves on either end. South Korea will, therefore, look to put the Selecao’s defence to the test and their best hope of doing so will be captain Son Heung-min.
The Tottenham Hotspur superstar has been recovering well from the mentally draining incident against Everton in the Premier League. And, a strong showing against Brazil could set the tone for the rest of the season for Son, who is one of the most pivotal players for club and country.
Brazil 1-1 South Korea
The pressure is mounting on Tite despite the success at the Copa America earlier this year. But, things are unlikely to improve against a solid South Korean side that does not concede many chances. In the absence of Neymar, Brazil will likely continue to lack bite in the final third, which is why The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between them and South Korea.