How Brazil Will Line Up Against South Korea
Brazil face South Korea in Seoul on Saturday in an international friendly designed to give both sides experience against a team with a very different playing style ahead of next year's World Cup.
Following the clash at the city's World Cup stadium, Brazil will then jet off to Beijing where they will face 2012 AFCON champions Zambia as they continue their preparations.
Per Lancenet (Portuguese), Brazil trained on Thursday with the following lineup ahead of the encounter: Jefferson; Daniel Alves, David Luiz, Dante, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Ramires, Oscar; Neymar, Jo.
In goal, Brazil are set to start with Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson. The 30-year-old has a wealth of experience—with nearly 50 caps for his country—and will be a more than adequate cover for the injured Julio Cesar.
Jefferson has often captained Brazil's domestic side and is well-trusted by those within the national team setup, but he has never really had a consistent run as first choice for his country.
With Julio Cesar out of favour at Queens Park Rangers and currently on the sidelines, he has a great opportunity to make himself Luiz Felipe Scolari's No. 1 ahead of next summer's World Cup.
Scolari has sprung no surprises with his suggested defence for the encounter, already having his first-choice back four in place—with the sole exception of injured captain Thiago Silva.
Bayern Munich Dante is now well established as the first alternative in central defence and will come in for the absent Paris Saint-Germain stopper, lining up alongside Chelsea's David Luiz.
The two have not played a huge amount of football together, and Scolari will be keen for the duo to build an understanding in case Thiago Silva were to be unavailable at any stage of next summer's World Cup.
Daniel Alves and Marcelo Vieira—Brazil's first-choice full-backs over the last couple of years—will continue to take up their regular places on the flanks where they will be important to the game plan at both ends of the pitch.
Having recalled Ramires for last month's convincing wins over Australia and Portugal, Scolari retains faith with the Chelsea man for his latest tests.
The Blues midfielder will take on his shuttling role ahead of the central midfield pivot of Luiz Gustavo and Paulinho, while Oscar continues to take the mantle of being Brazil's central playmaker.
The system worked well for Brazil in their last outings, moving away from the 4-2-3-1 structure that worked so well at the Confederations Cup. With Hulk left out due to his poor international form and Lucas Moura not yet entirely trusted, Scolari has instead taken a risk in altering what had been a winning team.
South Korea are a strong side in midfield, with some excellent technical players distributing the ball from deep to their bigger names in attack. This means that Oscar and Ramires' high-pressing will be an important factor in Brazil's game plan.
As the Lancenet article above suggests, Neymar left Brazil's Thursday training session injured and could be a doubt for the encounter—in which case, Bernard is the most likely alternative.
The Shakhtar forward impressed last month, in particular against Australia when he took on a starring role in the absence of Oscar.
If Neymar is fit, he will be the centre of attention once more, but Brazil are lucky to have excellent alternatives in Bernard, Lucas Moura, Hulk and Alexandre Pato. However, Bernard is the closest to a like-for-like replacement for Neymar.
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