Brazil and Portugal will wage what should be an entertaining friendly on Tuesday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
This will give Americans a golden opportunity to witness some scintillating, upper-echelon soccer. Unfortunately, this will not be a chance to witness that soccer from Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Real Madrid megastar will miss this start as he battles tendinitis.
Brazil-Portugal Preview: Ronaldo absent for Bento's side http://t.co/hCYvcfxWgF— Goal.com (@goal_intl) September 9, 2013
Still, Portugal will arrive to this match with their confidence on high as they sit atop Group F for World Cup qualifying by two points over Russia.
However, Brazil are also soaring. El Selecao have lost just one match all year, and they captured the Confederations Cup with an eye-opening 3-0 triumph.
When: Tuesday, September 10 at 9 p.m. ET; Wednesday, September 11 at 2 a.m. BST
Where: Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts
TV Coverage: beIN Sport
Odds: Brazil -1, Portugal +1 according to Bovada
Key Storyline: Can Brazil Maintain Top Form?
As I mentioned above, Brazil have lost only one match this year. That came in August with a shock loss to Switzerland. However, other than that, this proud soccer nation has been fantastic.
After a few years of subpar play (for Brazil, anyway), this team is bearing the fruit of developing young players in that period.
Neymar led the charge in the Confederations Cup as he came up huge time and again. That run culminated with the domination of Spain in the championship, and it alerted the world that Brazil are a force to be reckoned with once again.
Brazil will look to continue evolving as the World Cup approaches, and friendlies like this are an important part of that process.
Portugal have wisely tailored their attack to the immense potential of Ronaldo. That has helped lead them to No. 7 in the world rankings, which is actually two ahead of Brazil.
So, with Ronaldo out, it is tough to see Portugal mustering much of an attack against a stout Brazilian defense. Given Brazil's recent form, I would have predicted them anyway. Having Ronaldo on the shelf only solidifies that position.
Brazil 2, Portugal 0