World Cup 2022: Brazil vs Serbia match preview
When: Thursday, 10pm (19:00 GMT)
FIFA ranking: Brazil (1), Serbia (21)
Brazil and Serbia meet in the group stages of the World Cup for the second successive edition. A lot has changed for both teams since their clash in Moscow four years ago, Qazet.az reports.
The evolution of Brazil’s squad is best evidenced by the fact that the opening goal in their 2-0 win over Serbia in 2018 was scored by Paulinho — who has not played for the national team in the last four years. Brazil’s midfield was run ragged by Belgium in the quarterfinal that year and the manner in which they were exposed kept manager Tite up at night.
Their midfield going into the current World Cup has been significantly shored up. In Fabinho, Bruno Guimarães and Lucas Paquetá – all of whom will be making their World Cup debuts in Qatar – Tite has found the perfect balance in the middle of the park.
Brazil was a team in transition in 2018, lacking a clear identity. The shadow of their humiliation in the 2014 World Cup they hosted – when they were thrashed 7-1 in front of their fans by Germany in the semi-finals – still hung over the team and the nation as a whole.
But, this time, there is a tangible enthusiasm around the squad of the perennial favourites that in large part has to do with the attacking talent at their disposal.
Neymar is playing arguably his best football at Paris Saint-Germain. Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli have been key to Arsenal’s resurgence this season. Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo are fresh off winning the Champions League with Real Madrid. Add to this Raphinha, Antony and Richarlison and this is a forward line made up of fire and flair in equal parts.