Brazil face Colombia in Florida on Friday for a friendly match which signals the beginning of a long process to expunge the memory of their humiliating end to the 2014 World Cup.
Back in July—just days after squeaking past Colombia in the quarter-finals—the Selecao were pummelled 7-1 by Germany in their own back yard in one of the most extraordinary results of all time.
Furthermore, they went on to lose 3-0 to the Dutch in the third-place playoff of their home World Cup, which had held so much promise for the hosts.
While Friday's encounter is nominally a friendly, it is hugely important for Brazil, and Colombia will be eager to inflict further damage on a side that will likely be low on confidence.
Read on for full scheduling, television and live streaming information as well as a preview of the encounter in the USA.
Date: Friday, Sept. 5
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 a.m. BST (Sept. 6)
TV Info: beIN Sports 1 (US only)
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect
After Brazil's ignominious exit from the World Cup, Luiz Felipe Scolari was let go as team coach and replaced by Dunga for his second stint in charge.
The 1994 World Cup-winning captain has retained just 10 of the 23-man squad from the summer tournament for the encounter with Colombia and Robinho notably returns to the squad, per Brazilian football journalist Fernando Duarte:
Fernando Duarte @Fernando_Duarte
So Robinho is back. Hulk's injuries brings the Man City flop back8/31/2014, 8:10:36 PM
More significantly, the talismanic Neymar returns after he missed out on the latter stages of the World Cup—including the 7-1 drubbing—after being injured against Colombia in Brazil's 2-1 victory.
The team that Dunga puts out at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami will be much changed but there will be huge pressure on them to perform and begin the redemption process.
A major issue for Brazil is the absence of captain Thiago Silva after he picked up a hamstring injury playing for Paris St-Germain, per Sky Sports' Paulo Freitas:
Paulo Freitas @Cynegeticus
Thiago Silva will be out for a month with a hamstring injury, thus he will miss Brazil friendlies vs Colombia & Ecuador. #Seleção8/12/2014, 8:00:41 PM
However, the upside is that Neymar will be handed the armband, potentially a full-time switch with Dunga reportedly unimpressed with Silva's poise at the World Cup, per football writer Jack Lang:
Jack Lang @jacklang
Dunga apparently not overly impressed by Thiago Silva's emotional fragility at the World Cup. Neymar to take the armband vs Colombia...9/4/2014, 10:37:37 AM
Rarely, if ever, has a Brazilian national team had to play a friendly match under such scrutiny and never after such a humiliating defeat.
Whether they will be able to rise to the occasion remains to be seen but it is set to be a nervy occasion for players, manager and fans alike.
In stark contrast to Brazil, Colombia made a very impressive account of themselves at the World Cup and were unfortunate to be knocked out by the hosts at the last-eight stage.
They have retained 21 of the 23 players from the World Cup for the Miami game and also include new Manchester United man Radamel Falcao, who missed the Brazil tournament through injury, per the Daily Telegraph's Mark Ogden:
Mark Ogden @MarkOgden_
Falcao in Colombia squad to face Brazil in Miami this weekend. Likely to need game time after cruciate lay-off..9/1/2014, 10:37:05 AM
James Rodriguez—Golden Boot winner and one of the players of the tournament in the summer—will likely start, while Jackson Martinez and Juan Cuadrado are also available.
Colombia are in the enviable position of facing a recovering Brazil side and they will look to add further to their opponents' pain by claiming a victory on Friday and avenging their World Cup exit.
Furthermore, as Duarte pointed out in the Guardian, Pekerman's side will also be looking at "scoring psychological points before the South American qualifiers for Russia 2018 begin next year."
There is undoubtedly an opportunity for Colombia to make a bold statement against Brazil and mark themselves out—as if they hadn't done enough already—as one of the top South American sides.
There are many stories underlying Friday's match but most importantly it should be a high-quality occasion with so many stars on show.
With so much change in the Brazil setup, it is very difficult to predict the outcome of the game but it should make for brilliant viewing.
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