Youthful Brazil Host England

Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP Photo
Brazilian Neymar is considered the next big thing in world football. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP Photo
Brazil  and England  meet in an international football friendly for the second time in four months when they lock horns at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Monday morning (AEST). Despite some concerns that the recently renovated arena didn’t meet safety guidelines, the match will go ahead as planned with 78,000 fans set to pack what will be the venue for next year’s World Cup final.

All eyes will be on 21 year-old forward Neymar for the hosts, after it was revealed during the week that the Santos forward would join Spanish giants Barcelona next week for a transfer fee in the vicinity of 28 million euros. He will lead the line for a relatively youthful squad, with coach Luiz Felipe Scolari leaving World Cup winners Ronaldinho and Kaka out of his squad as he looks towards the World Cup in twelve months. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar and the Chelsea duo of David Luiz and Oscar are the only English Premier League stars named for the hosts and they will face several of their club teammates.

Stamford Bridge fan favourite Frank Lampard scored the equaliser in England’s 1-1  draw against the Republic of Ireland during the week and will get the skipper’s armband back from Ashley Cole against Brazil. Daniel Sturridge hobbled off with an ankle injury just 23 minutes in the Wembley match and didn’t make the trip to South America and is likely to be replaced by Jermaine Defoe in the starting side. James Milner, Leighton Baines and Phil Jones could also come into contention for a start after coming off the bench against Ireland.

Brazil has drawn  three of its past four international fixtures since March but England has been far less active, with the midweek match at Wembley the only game the Three Lions have played since beating Brazil 2-1  in London on February 6.

Click here to bet on International Friendly matches