Preview: Brazil vs. Nigeria – prediction, team news, lineups
By Barney Corkhill
Brazil will be looking to end a three-match winless streak when they face Nigeria in an international friendly at The National Stadium in Singapore on Sunday.
The five-time world champions are currently enduring their longest wait for victory since 2013 and were held by Senegal at the same venue in Singapore on Thursday. bestchoicesports.com.ng takes a look at the match today
The coronation of Brazil as Copa America champions this summer was their finest moment as a footballing nation since they last lifted the trophy in 2007, but things have since been tougher for Tite and co.
The Selecao have not won since their 3-1 triumph over Peru in July’s final, losing to the same opposition in Los Angeles last month in addition to draws with Colombia and Senegal.
Should they fail to beat Nigeria on Sunday then it would be their longest winless run since a streak of five successive draws which ended in May 2004.
It is not as though they have been playing weakened teams in these friendlies either; the likes of Neymar , Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all started on Thursday as Brazil failed to beat Senegal, with Famara Diedhiou ‘s penalty cancelling out Firmino’s early opener.
Senegal have star names of their own, of course – most notably Sadio Mane , Kalidou Koulibaly and
Idrissa Gueye – but it was still a match the world’s third-highest ranked team would have expected to win.
Sunday’s contest also fits into that category, although the Senegal draw may have given Brazil a glimpse of the sort of level they can expect to come up against when Nigeria join them in Singapore.
Gernot Rohr ‘s side finished third at this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations, losing in the semi-finals to Algeria, who went on to beat Senegal in the final.
Like Brazil, though, the Super Eagles are also winless since those summer exploits and most recently fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat at the hands of Togo last month.
The size of that defeat leaves their hopes of qualifying for the African Nations Championship hanging by a thread ahead of Thursday’s home second leg.
However, Brazil will not read too much into that result considering only players plying their trade in Africa are allowed to feature in that tournament, with Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations showing a much more accurate representation of their quality ahead of this match.
Rohr’s side have only won one of their last eight international friendlies, though, and last month threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Ukraine.
Brazil form: WWWDLD
Nigeria form: WWLWDL
Neymar won his 100th Brazil cap against Senegal and, should he start again on Sunday, he would draw level with Claudio Taffarel as the fifth-most capped Selecao player.
The Paris Saint-Germain talisman also only needs one goal to level Ronaldo on 62 for Brazil and is expected to be given the chance to reach that landmark, which would leave only Pele above him in the all-time list.
Tite started both Firmino and Gabriel Jesus last time out, with Coutinho completing a star-studded front four, but Everton Soares or
Richarlison could be given an opportunity for this match.
Notable absentees from the current squad include
Fernandinho , Douglas Costa and the injured duo of Alisson Becker and Marcelo.
Nigeria, meanwhile, have been hit by a number of withdrawals from their squad, leaving Rohr without Peter Etebo , Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina and Samuel Kalu .
Shehu Abdullahi , Jamilu Collins and Ikechukwu Ezenwa all joined up with the rest of the team on Thursday and will hope for a run-out alongside the likes of Alex Iwobi , Wilfred Ndidi and Emmanuel Bonventure, the latter of whom scored twice at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid for Club Brugge earlier this month.
Brazil possible starting
Ederson; Alves, Marquinhos, Silva, Sandro; Arthur, Fabinho, Coutinho; Richarlison, Firmino, Neymar
Nigeria possible starting
Uzoho; Balogun, Ajayi, Troost-Ekong, Collins; Aribo, Esiti; Chukwueze, Iwobi, Bonaventure; Osimhen
Brazil are by no means on top form right now, but they are coming up against a relatively inexperienced Nigeria side who have far fewer star names than Senegal.
Tite’s side, by contrast, are oozing with world-class talent and should have enough to end their winless run here.