Brazil will be aiming to continue their perfect start in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers when they lock horns with bitter rivals Uruguay this week.
It will be the clash of titans at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on Tuesday night, as Uruguay gear up to host arch-rivals Brazil in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
Uruguay are currently fourth in the qualifying table, having picked up six points from their three games. Oscar Tabarez’s side started the qualifiers with a 2-1 win against Chile following which they slumped to a 4-2 defeat against Ecuador. La Celeste bounced back to winning ways with an impressive 3-0 victory against Colombia last week and will be hoping to carry forward the momentum.
Brazil, on the other hand, are perched atop the standings, with the Selecao being the only team to have a 100 per cent record in the qualifiers so far. Tite’s side dispatched Bolivia (5-0) and Peru (4-2) with ease in October, but were made to work hard by Venezuela last week as they prevailed 1-0. They will be aiming to maintain their winning start when they take the field at the Centenario.
The last time these two teams squared off was in 2018, in a friendly setting, with Brazil emerging as 1-0 victors. And, ahead of their latest meeting, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at this blockbuster encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Martin Silva, Sebastian Coates, Ronald Araujo, Federico Valverde, Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Maxi Gomez are all out with injuries. Yonatan Irrazabal, Alexis Rolin and Gabriel Neves have been called up as replacements. In addition, defender Matias Vina will miss out after testing positive for coronavirus.
La Celeste ought to line up in a 4-4-2 formation once again, with Martin Campana starting between the sticks. Martin Caceres ought to continue between the sticks, with the first-choice centre-back pairing of Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin also remaining intact. With Vina out, Agustin Oliveros is expected to step into the side at left-back.
Nahitan Nandez is a certainty to feature on the right flank while River Plate’s Nicolas De La Cruz should get the nod on the left side. The responsibility of holding the fort in the middle of the park will fall on the shoulders of Lucas Torreira, while his partner Rodrigo Bentancur will look to provide the forward impetus.
There is no looking past the first-choice strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, both of whom were on the scoresheet against Colombia. Darwin Nunez, who has been linked with Barcelona recently, is an option at the manager’s disposal from the bench.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Campaña; Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Oliveros; Nandez, Torreira, Bentancur, De La Cruz; Suarez, Cavani
Real Madrid duo Eder Militao and Casemiro had to withdraw from the squad after having tested positive for coronavirus, while Gabriel Menino, Rodrigo Caio, Philippe Coutinho and Fabinho are all out injured. The likes of Diego Carlos, Felipe, Bruno Guimaraes, Lucas Paqueta and Allan were all called up as replacements.
Pedro, who was called up as cover for the injured Neymar, has picked up an injury and has been replaced by 31-year-old forward Thiago Galhardo. Alex Telles will have to wait on a COVID test result to determine whether he will travel with the squad. Guilherme Arana has been called up as a backup.
Tite will set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation on Tuesday night, with Ederson Moraes likely to get the nod in goal once again ahead of Alisson Becker and Weverton. The full-back slots ought to be taken up by Danilo and Renan Lodi once again, with captain Thiago Silva partnering Marquinhos at the heart of the Brazil defence.
Allan, who was drafted into the squad as a replacement for Fabinho, should be retained in the defensive midfield role, meaning Bruno Guimaraes might have to wait for his national team debut. Everton Ribeiro and Douglas Luiz are expected to occupy the remaining two midfield slots, with Juventus’s Arthur also an option.
The dynamic frontline of Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Roberto Firmino, who scored the only goal against Venezuela, is unlikely to be tinkered with, although Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior will be pushing for a starting berth on Tuesday against Uruguay.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Silva, Lodi; Everton, Allan, Luiz; Richarlison, Jesus, Firmino
- This will be the 77th meeting between Uruguay and Brazil. The latter has the upper-hand when it comes to head-to-head record, having picked up 38 wins, in comparison to the former’s 21 (D17).
- Brazil are unbeaten in their last ten fixtures against Uruguay. The last time the Selecao lost against their South American rivals was in 2001.
- Uruguay have lost just one of their previous nine fixtures in all competitions (W5 D3). Although, that defeat came last month against Ecuador.
- Following a defeat to Argentina in November last year, Brazil have won all of their subsequent four fixtures. Tite’s side have kept three clean sheets during this run.
- There hasn’t been a single goalless affair played out between Uruguay and Brazil since June 1967 – a run of 35 games.
Player to Watch
The 33-year-old striker had not been involved in Uruguay’s fixtures last month and understandably so, given that he had not played competitive football since lockdown, after leaving PSG upon the expiry of his contract in June.
However, now that he has found his new home at Manchester United and got some minutes under his belt, Cavani was brought back into the fold by Tabarez and he repaid the faith with an impressive display capped with a goal against Colombia.
That made it two goals in two games for club and country for Cavani, with him having netted his first goal for Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Everton prior to the international break. The veteran forward will be hoping to build on this goalscoring run and fire his team to an important win against Brazil this week.
Uruguay 1-2 Brazil
Brazil have made a perfect start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, racking up three wins in three. However, Uruguay, who returned to winning ways with a fine performance against Colombia, will represent a much sterner challenge for Tite & co.
The Selecao have not lost to their South American rivals in over twenty years though and considering that the form they are in, that is unlikely to change this Tuesday. The Hard Tackle is predicting Brazil to pick up another win and continue their strong start to the World Cup Qualifiers.