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International friendlies preview: Kaka returns for Brazil

Kaka is set to make his return for Brazil when the South American giants take on Iraq in an international friendly on Thursday.

The Real Madrid attacker earned a recall from Mano Menezes and could make his first appearance in Brazil colours since the 2010 World Cup.

Menezes has focused on giving youngsters a chance since taking charge from Dunga following the showcase tournament in South Africa.

Brazil have won four straight games since losing to Argentina in June, netting 14 goals in the process.

On paper it is an impressive Brazil squad for friendlies against Iraq and Japan in the next week, to be played in Sweden and Poland respectively.

If Kaka can combine with Chelsea young gun Oscar through midfield, Brazil are sure to provide plenty of opportunities for Neymar and Hulk up front.

More will undoubtedly be demanded against a struggling Iraq side that has won just two matches this year – against Singapore and Sierra Leone.

Coached by Brazilian Zico, Iraq are winless in the fourth round of AFC World Cup qualifying.

The encounter against Brazil will act as preparation for their vital Group B clash against Australia in Doha on October 16.

Despite finding it hard to win, Iraq’s recent performances have been promising with their last outing being a 1-0 loss to Asian heavyweights Japan.

Draws against Oman and Jordan came before the loss to Japan as Zico looks to have his side prepared for the vital qualifier against Australia.

Iraq captain Younis Mahmoud remains one to watch having scored three times in his past three matches for Al Wakrah in Qatar.

In other friendly action, Poland will fine-tune their preparations for a crucial World Cup qualifier against England with a clash against South Africa in Warsaw on Friday.

The Poles have started their World Cup qualifying campaign with a win and a draw but face their most daunting task yet when they host Roy Hodgson’s England in the capital on Monday.

Before that, however, Waldemar Fornalik’s men will encounter a South African team starting life after Everton star Steven Pienaar, who announced his retirement from international football earlier this month.

South Africa head into the game on the back of a 2-0 win over Mozambique in September, while Poland’s last hit out ended with a 2-0 victory over Moldova.

Wed 10 October, 2012
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