Brazil begin World Cup title charge with a difficult game against Serbia
The Samba boys are among the favourites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup but in their path lies a potential banana peel in Serbia
Brazil are the best team in World Cup history having appeared at every single instalment and won the tournament more times than any other team.
The Selecao go in search of their sixth world title in Qatar and their first since 2002 but must first navigate a tricky group where they face Serbia first on Thursday.
The Serbians are being mooted as a potential dark horse for this tournament as they have a decent squad and could pose a serious threat to Brazil’s aspirations.
Serbia have only qualified for two of the last four World Cups as an independent nation and they crashed out of the group stage on both occasions.
Their ambitions are very different from Brazil’s but it also means there is no pressure on them which could work out in their favour.
Brazil v Serbia H2H
Brazil and Serbia were coincidentally in the same group at the last World Cup in 2018 and the Brazillians ran out 2-0 winners.
Before then they had only played each other once, a friendly match in 2014 which Brazil won 1-0 making it two losses and no goals scored for Serbia against these opponents.
Brazil are on a seven-game winning streak and are unbeaten in their last 15 matches. In fact, Brazil have only lost two of their last 32 games, both 1-0 defeats against Argentina, a run that dates all the way back to October 2019.
Serbia are also in decent form as they are unbeaten in their last six games and have lost just twice in the previous 16.
Brazil v Serbia players to watch
There are no prizes for guessing who Brazil’s best player is, Neymar is one of the very best players at this tournament and is expected to lead Brazil to their sixth title.
The 30-year-old winger will be looking for his first major trophy with Brazil and is also motivated by personal ambitions as he currently has 75 goals for the national team, two short of record scorer, Pele.
For all their attacking talent, Brazil know they cannot win the World Cup without defending well which is where Thiago Silva comes in.
The 38-year-old remains one of the best central defenders in the world despite his age and will be the defensive anchor for the Selecao.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 52 goals in his last 58 games for Fulham, coming into the World Cup as a star player for his country.
His reputation for Serbia is nothing short of deadly with 50 goals in 64 games for his country, making him their record goalscorer by a distance.
The other half of Serbia scary striker partnership, Dusan Vlahovic is already one of the best strikers in European football.
The 22-year-old has scored nine goals in 17 games for Serbia and will be looking to make a splash in his first-ever World Cup.
Adenor Leonardo Bacchi known as Tite (for whatever reason) has been the Brazil national team coach since 2016 and has only one trophy to his name, the 2019 Copa America.
Tite will be leading Brazil to the World Cup for the second time after the disappointing quarter-final exit in 2018.
Dragan Stojkovic on the other hand has only been in charge of Serbia for just over a year and this will be his first World Cup as a manager.
Brazil v Serbia prediction
Serbia have the capacity to upset Brazil but it is unlikely that they will as the Brazilians are too talented and motivated to let that happen.
Brazil 3-1 Serbia