Brazil will face Serbia on Friday evening in their final friendly fixture for this summer's home World Cup, hoping to end their warm-up period on a high before welcoming the globe's best and brightest to their doorstep.
It's a stern test that the Selecao are set to face when one looks at the recent form of Ljubinko Drulovic's side, who haven't lost a match since August 2013.
This will be only Brazil's third fixture of the year, and although a lack of squad preparation might see the samba stars at a disadvantage in terms of synchronicity, Luiz Felipe Scolari's line-up is nevertheless packed with enough quality to see off their European opponents.
Brazil defeated Panama in their penultimate friendly match before the start of the tournament, running out 4-0 winners. Goals from Neymar, Dani Alves, Hulk and Willian sealed the victory.
Date: Friday, June 6
Time: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET
TV Info: BT Sport 1 (UK), beIN Sports 9 (US)
Players to Watch
Although it might be a risk to play their golden boy less than a week before the World Cup is set to get underway, Neymar is in as much need as anyone in the squad for playing time.
He sparkled with a glorious goal and a magical assist against Panama, but Neymar missed much of Barcelona's end to the season through injury and can still improve his match sharpness.
The Serbia fixture will serve as an indicator as to where the forward is in terms of his progress prior to the tournament. That being said, as Peter Schmeichel states on Twitter, his displays in training would suggest the No. 10 is in good shape ahead of the Brazil bonanza:
Neymar scores an amazing penalty in Brazil training, something to look forward to..!!?? http://t.co/Gp4ZDDNbHN— Peter Schmeichel (@Pschmeichel1) June 3, 2014
Neymar's immense talent will inevitably draw a heap of interest this summer, and Serbia could be the unfortunate recipients of going up against the Barcelona attacker at his most eager to impress.
The wunderkind has the ability to draw in his opponent for the foul with great efficiency, and given that Serbia aren't a side known to be shy of a tackle—they committed 23 fouls against Panama on Sunday, per Soccerway—his dribbling will be one spectacle worth keeping an eye on.
Serbia: Nemanja Matic
Brazil are loaded with talent in all portions of the pitch, but it's their creative line that arguably fuels their prolific attack, and Nemanja Matic will be a key character if Serbia are to have any chance of repelling that threat.
The Chelsea anchor adopts a similar role on international duty to that which he applies at Stamford Bridge, except the emphasis on his isolation can sometimes be greater in a midfield that tends to drag other central players out wide.
Matic will, of course, need help in restraining the likes of Oscar, Hernanes and Ramires, but his individual contribution in breaking down the Brazilian assault, not to mention thrusting his own outfit into attack, will be pivotal.
Dani Alves vs. Lazar Markovic
Dani Alves is another star who nervous Brazilian fans might not want to see stepping onto the pitch with only Maicon as viable cover in the right-back position, but as is the case with Neymar, the Barcelona man could do with some playing time this week.
Should he play, it's likely Alves will be drawn opposite Benfica's Lazar Markovic, one of Serbia's most highly rated prospects, possessing a strong potential for igniting things in attack.
A Football Report's Dominic Vieira terms this trait as "unpredictable creativity":
@Portu_Goal the engine of Enzo, the flair of Salvio and unpredictable creativity of Markovic were all missed.— Dominic Vieira (@dominicvieira) May 14, 2014
Should Alves make the mistake of being caught too far upfield, young maestro Markovic will be more than happy to punish him. But that isn't likely to stop Alves bombing forward, with ample centre-back talent to provide cover at the back in the shapes of Thiago Silva, David Luiz or Dante.