Brazil vs. France: Stars Who Will Deliver in International Friendly
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An underwhelming Brazil squad will host France on Sunday night in an international friendly pitting two World Cup contenders.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's club has followed a 4-0 pummeling of Bolivia with a pair of 2-2 draws against Chile and England. Brazil will look to rediscover the win column in their next tune-up at Porto Alegre, but a potent France team awaits.
France has won three of its five qualifying matches to put Les Bleus second in Group I. Their last match, however, resulted in a 1-0 defeat to Spain, the one team ahead of them in the grouping.
Don't tell these guys that this game does not count, as both clubs enter the bout with something to prove. Look for these stars to bring their A-game to the friendly.
Karim Benzema has performed exceptionally in club play, but that success has yet to transfer over to the national ranks.
The Real Madrid striker tallied 11 goals in 19 La Liga matches and 21 during the prior season. He has yet to find the net through five qualifying games.
The 26-year-old's strong finishing techniques should eventually carry over, with the friendly serving as a prime spot for him to find his touch.
Benzema should be hungry to contribute to France's World Cup bid after missing out on the opportunity in 2010. France's attack would make a major dent with an effective Benzema taking charge.
For Brazil to replant itself among the top pantheon of clubs, Neymar must continue to light it up.
Fresh off signing a five-year deal with Barcelona, the 21-year-old can't look too far ahead. With his nation slotted at No. 22 in the FIFA world rankings, Brazil's explosive attack sets the squad apart from the pack, and the epitome of that exciting style must lead the way.
Seems a bit unfair for a player his age, but Neymar has recorded 41 goals through 48 games in 2012-13. Fans are getting restless after two draws, but some spectacular plays from Neymar can quickly transform those grumbles into cheers.
Arsenal's Olivier Giroud is demonstrating the prowess for France that has made him a leader for the Gunners.
The 26-year-old has already compiled two scores through four matches for Les Bleus. This is nothing new for the striker, who has registered 32 goals and 12 assists over the past two seasons.
Brazil's defense has looked exploitable lately, and Giroud has looked like a goal-scoring machine. He can continue to rise his star status by heating up just in time for more World Cup qualifying matches.
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