This upcoming Thursday, October 7, 2010, Brazil will take on one of its most surprising opponents: Iran.
There is a long history of Brazil playing outside of its own continent and against much lesser opponents in a somewhat random location. This Thursday Brazil takes on Iran in Abu Dhabi at 1 p.m. eastern (NY) only to travel to England for its second friendly of the week.
An even bigger surprise was that Brazil is going to England for its second game, but not to play in the big stadiums in London, but rather Brazil will take on the Ukraine in Derby. Why Ukraine and why Derby? I guess because the pitch in Isle of Man was taken.
Anyways, Mano Menezes has called up a few new players for his side and here is a preview of what I believe he will put on the field.
Mano selected three keepers for the two friendlies, and here they are:
Mano has already called Victor and Jefferson for his friendly versus the U.S. and he brings on newcomer Neto to be the third string on the trip.
Victor played one game already and he should get the start, while I wouldn't be surprised if Jefferson was given the second match since he never played in his initial call up.
Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
Thiago Silva (A.C. Milan)
Andre Santos (Fenerbahçe)
David Luiz (Benfica)
If we are to take what we saw in Brazil's last game as the base for the players, I believe Mano will start David Luiz and Thiago Silva as the two center backs with Andre Santos on the left and Dani Alves on the right.
Both Mariano and Rever have been called up for the first time.
Carlos Eduardo (Rubin Kazan)
Wesley (Werder Bremen)
Philippe Coutinho (Inter Milan)
Giuliano, Wesley, Philippe Coutinho and Elias have been called up for the first time, and while Sandro was called up previously, he was unable to make the trip to play versus the United States in August.
Elias was the go-between for Mano and the players on the field while both were at Corinthians, and I believe he will play. However, he may not start because he has played so much this year and Corinthians really needs him back for the final run in Brazil. Wesley was part of the Santos side that played so well early in the year, but he was maybe the fifth or sixth best player on that team.
Lucas used to play for Mano back in their Gremio days and he even tried to get him to come to Corinthians before the season started in England.
If he is to pick four of these players I believe he will start with Sandro, Lucas, Ramires, and Elias (or Carlos Eduardo).
Robinho (A.C. Milan)
Alexandre Pato (A.C. Milan)
Andre (Dinamo Kiev)
All four have been called up before to the national side and I believe Mano will select to start with Nilmar and Pato here.
Robinho is not good, and I really hope he fades from the national side picture soon. He never takes anything seriously, and he really thinks he is much better than he really is, much like a newcomer we all know as Neymar.