Brazil vs. Saudi Arabia

October 12, 2018

King Saud University Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Kickoff: 2:00 PM EDT / 3:00 PM BRT / 6:00 PM GMT

US TV/Streaming: BeIN Sports

Expected Starting Lineup: Ederson; Fabinho, Pablo, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Casemiro, Fred, Renato Augusto; Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Neymar (C).

On The Bench: 

GK: Alisson, Phelipe

DEF: Éder Militão, Filipe Luís, Miranda, Danilo

MID: Arthur, Walace

FWD: Richarlison, Lucas Moura, Roberto Firmino, Malcom

Zetona’s Notes And Stuff™: 

  • Gabriel Jesus and Renato Augusto, perhaps undeservedly, return for the first time since the World Cup. It’s a questionable choice, particularly given GJ’s lack of playing time, but Tite’s intentions are clear. He wants to go back to the system with which he had the most success during World Cup qualifiers (and which I’ve said it was a mistake to abandon), where Coutinho played on the right wing instead of midfield. In bringing back Coutinho and Augusto, he’s recreating that setup (from the midfield forward, anyway) with only one change: Paulinho is gone, and Fred, a player with much better technique and passing, takes his place. Will it work, when GJ has fallen so badly out of form? Well, we’re going to see.
  • Pablo, of Bordeaux, will make his first appearance for the Seleção. Malcom, who left Bordeaux over the summer, will too if he enters the game. (So would Phelipe, but the odds of him getting onto the pitch are slim to none.)
  • Globo reports that Alisson, Danilo, Miranda, Filipe Luís, Arthur, and Roberto Firmino will come into the side for Tuesday’s match against Argentina, which would seem to indicate that Tite plans to keep the same underlying setup. This leaves the question of who will get time off the bench and when. You have to figure that Richarlison will play after his impressive brace against El Salvador, but I have a hunch it may be as more of a left winger. On the right, Malcom and Lucas are fighting for one spot. I think the Barcelona man might get a run-out in the easier game, with Lucas coming on in the second half against Argentina to stretch the game late on. Behind them, I wouldn’t be surprised if Casemiro comes off early on Friday to keep him fresh against Los Hermanos, which would give Walace (or maybe Fabinho, if Éder Militão is given a few minutes at right-back) some playing time.
  • It’s hard to predict the final scoreline, other than that Brazil will certainly win. Saudi Arabia kept it close in recent losses to high-profile teams, losing by only one goal to Uruguay, Germany, and Italy during and just before the World Cup. On the other hand, they got blown out 5-0 in the first game of the World Cup, and their overall record over the last year has been pretty poor. They’ll probably try and batten down the hatches, but we should have enough firepower to dispatch them comfortably. I predict a 3-0 win for Brazil, a solid scoreline but one that might feel a little low given the quality of the opposition.