International Friendly Match
Brazil vs. Chile
Belo Horizonte, Weds. April 24, 10 p.m. kickoff
While the European-based football-loving contingent of the world has its gaze firmly fixed on two days of Champions League semifinal action, those in South America will have another match to focus their attentions on altogether.
In the latest of their 2014 World Cup warm-up matches, Brazil will play a friendly exhibition match against Chile in Belo Horizonte.
With no competitive qualifying matches over the past year, nor until the Confederations Cup later this summer, Brazil are taking as many chances as possible to give some match time at full international level to players who could possibly represent the nation in the forthcoming World Cup on home soil next year.
With the fixture not being played on a currently recognised FIFA international date, the two squads are made up of locally based players.
Of course, that means no place in the squad for the likes of Dante, David Luiz, Marcelo, Kaka and Oscar, all of whom are in action in European matches for their clubs during this week. Similarly, all other European-based players are omitted from the squads, including the likes of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez for Chile.
The Chileans are also without midfield playmaker Jorge Valdivia, who plays in Brazil for Palmeiras, but who is struggling with injury and has two key matches upcoming for his side.
Brazil, however, have been able to pick star name Ronaldinho for their squad.
The Atletico Mineiro forward is in the list of 18, alongside the likes of Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Alexandre Pato.
Chile include three uncapped players in their squad, along with another nine who have played less than 10 times for the national team. Forward Eduardo Vargas and defender Marcos Gonzalez are the only two players in the squad who are not based in Chile.
Brazil have only been taking part in prestigious friendlies as they automatically qualify as hosts of the 2014 World Cup. Under the care of Luiz Felipe Scolari since late 2012, they have drawn two, lost one and won one of their four games since then.
The most recent clash was a 4-0 win over Bolivia in early April, and following the game against Chile, they will play three more friendlies before the Confederations Cup in the summer.
Chile are currently sitting in fourth place in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying zone, with five wins and six defeats from their 11 games. Fourth place will see them through to the finals, but they are only ahead of fifth-place Venezuela by virtue of goals scored.
Their most recent games saw them lose 1-0 in Peru and beat Uruguay 2-0 at home, though of course there was a markedly different squad in place for those two fixtures.
Brazil certainly have the stronger squad on paper, and also have home advantage. The loss of the European-based players including Gary Medel, Matias Fernandez and first choice goalkeeper and national team captain Claudio Bravo will hit them hard.
On the other hand, Brazil's players have a clear and tangible opportunity to force their way into Scolari's plans for this summer's tournament. For that reason alone, they should be fully motivated to put on a good performance.
Brazil to triumph, 3-0.
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