World Cup qualification in South America got underway this week and it continues with Brazil’s opening match against Bolivia on Friday night (1:30am kick-off UK time).
The qualifiers have twice been postponed from the initial scheduled start in March but are now up and running for the road to Qatar 2022.
Brazil begin their journey at the Corinthians Arena against bordering neighbours Bolivia, with Tite eager to start on a high.
The likes of Argentina and Uruguay have already secured opening wins against Ecuador and Chile respectively, so now it is over to Brazil to follow suit.
However, Bolivia have twice caused Brazil problems in previous World Cup qualifiers, drawing 0-0 in the road to Russia, and being the only nation to go unbeaten against the Selecao in the build up to 2010. So, can they pull off another shock result?
Where to watch Brazil v Bolivia on TV:
- UK: N/A
- US: Fanatiz
Where to live stream Brazil v Bolivia:
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Brazil & Bolivia’s previous line-ups:
- Brazil (vs South Korea): Alisson*; Danilo, Marquinhos, Militao*, Lodi; Fabinho, Arthur*, Jesus*, Paqueta*, Coutinho; Richarlison.
- Bolivia (vs Haiti): Quinonez*; Ribera, Jusino, G Justiniano, Sagredo; Saavedra, Arano, L Justiniano, Arce; Saucedo, Alvarez*.
It has been nearly a year since Brazil last played and Tite will have to make do without starting goalkeeper Alisson and Gabriel Jesus, who were both omitted from his squad with injury problems. Neymar is also a major doubt having left Wednesday’s training session with back pains. Likewise Bolivia last played in 2019 so their squad has also undergone some changes.
Players to watch:
- Brazil: Brazil’s rich lineage of full-backs has laid the groundwork for future generations and it appears as though the well hasn’t run dry just yet, as Atletico Madrid’s left-back Renan Lodi has already cemented his status as Tite’s long-term option in the nation’s cherished position. An attacking full-back in every sense, the 22-year-old has already succeeded Marcelo for the Selecao and is indispensable for Diego Simeone in Madrid. Brazil’s latest full-back talent has well and truly arrived.
- Bolivia: Cesar Farias has a gruelling task later this week. Whereas Brazil boast a raft of globetrotting stars, with Tite’s charges playing football from Paris to Madrid and London, Bolivia’s boys tend to stay closer to home. In fact, Farias has just three players currently plying their trade outside of Bolivia, and one of those is in Italy with SPAL. Jaume Cuellar, a 19-year-old forward for the House of Este, played twice in Serie A last season as the club suffered relegation. He is uncapped but presents one of Bolivia’s most promising talents, and he is in line to make the turf in Sao Paolo. Definitely one to keep an eye on.