How Brazil Will Line Up Against Zambia
The Selecao had a reasonably tough time of it against South Korea in their last outing before eventually seeing them off 2-0, but Zambia should prove a different type of challenge when the sides meet on Tuesday.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari may decide to tinker with his starting lineup once again as he edges closer to deciding on his ideal squad as the 2014 World Cup approaches. This friendly in Beijing may be the last chance several players have to impress the veteran manager.
Hulk was perhaps the most surprising inclusion in the starting side in Seoul, but he was replaced by Ramires at half-time following an unimpressive performance.
Here is the squad named by Scolari for the South Korea and Zambia doubleheader:
Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Dede (Cruzeiro), Henrique (Palmeiras), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (PSG)
Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham), Hernanes (Lazio), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Ramires (Chelsea), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Oscar (Chelsea), Lucas Moura (PSG)
Forwards: Hulk (Zenit), Neymar (Barcelona), Bernard (Shakhtar), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Alexandre Pato (Corinthians)
Against the South Koreans in Seoul, the following 11 players started the game, playing in Scolari's recently preferred 4-3-3 formation:
Jefferson, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Marcelo, Dante, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar, Jo, Hulk, Neymar
Julio Cesar's status as first-choice keeper for the Brazilians is currently under threat, as he no longer starts for Queens Park Rangers and is currently out with a broken finger. Jefferson did not have much work to do against the South Koreans, and therefore may be given another opportunity to stake his claim against Zambia.
With Thiago Silva absent through injury, Scolari will likely give the best back four available another run out, though Maxwell could be given a chance to impress on the left.
Similarly, creative types Neymar and Oscar appear to be considered fundamental pieces of the puzzle by the manager and will most likely be starting once again.
The makeup of the rest of the side will depend on just how experimental Felipao is feeling.
As mentioned, Hulk was poor in the last game, so Bernard could come in as a wide forward. And Pato was unused on Sunday and might also be granted his opportunity against Zambia.
Lucas Moura is another player who the coach may want to cast his eyes over in Brazil colors, as he offers a different tactical option to Paulinho in midfield.
Due to the unlimited substitutes rule in international friendlies, Scolari will have plenty of opportunities to alter his formation as the match progresses, so he is unlikely to be fretting too much over the precise starting 11.
Here is one possible side he could send out:
Jefferson, Dani Alves, David Luiz, Dante, Maxwell, Luiz Gustavo, Lucas Moura, Oscar, Pato, Bernard, Neymar
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