This summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup is a huge occasion for both Russia and Brazil, and the two sides meet for a friendly on Friday as they continue their preparations.
Russia are the hosts for the tournament and will be eager to put in a good performance against the five-time World Cup winners at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium in order to whet the appetite for the summer.
Brazil, meanwhile, will have the opportunity to redeem themselves at Russia 2018 after crashing out of their home World Cup four years ago in their humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.
Read on for a preview of Friday’s clash, along with scheduling details and viewing information.
Date: Friday, March 23
Time: 4 p.m. GMT, noon ET
TV Info: Live on beIN Sports USA
Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect
The Luzhniki Stadium will be the venue for the 2018 World Cup final on July 15.
Russia are unlikely to make it that far even with the backing of home support. But Brazil are joint-second favourites behind Germany to lift the trophy, per OddsShark.
As such the Brazilian team will likely take inspiration from their visit to Moscow and can have genuine ambitions of returning in July to play for football’s biggest prize.
Friday’s match will also be an occasion for Brazil manager Tite to test a World Cup-winning side without star player Neymar.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is sidelined due to a broken metatarsal.
Per L’Equipe (via Goal’s Chris Burton), he is on course to recover in time to take part in the World Cup, but his latest injury must have highlighted to the Brazilian top brass that they need a plan for how to cope without him.
It was with Neymar sitting in the stands because of an injury that Brazil suffered their ignominious loss to Germany in 2014.
Though perhaps the best Brazilian player plying his trade in world football, Neymar is not the only star Tite has at his disposal.
In attacking terms Brazil have the likes of Willian, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho to call upon, along with Gabriel Jesus, Anderson Talisca and Douglas Costa.
In Fernandinho, Casemiro and Paulinho, Tite has a trio of accomplished midfielders to rely on, and Brazil’s back line is packed with experienced defenders like Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Marcelo. Meanwhile, goalkeepers Alisson and Ederson are among the best in the world in their position at the moment.
Even without Neymar, Brazil have a strong squad, and a convincing away win over Russia at the World Cup final venue on Friday would go a long way to breeding confidence among players and fans alike.