Friday, April 20, 2018

International friendlies preview: Scolari returns to London with Brazil

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Mar 2013


Former Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari will return to Stamford Bridge for Brazil’s friendly against Russia on Monday.

The English Premier League giants will host the clash as Brazil, who do not need to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup because they are the host nation, see the next stop on the world tour of friendlies take them to London.

And Scolari – who was in charge at Chelsea from July 2008 to February 2009 – says he is looking forward to returning to West London for the match.

“The game against Russia will be very important in order to prepare Brazil’s national team for the Confederations Cup in 2013 and the World Cup in 2014,” Scolari said.

“Russia is a strong opponent and it is traditionally hard to play against them.

“Going to London is a great joy. It will be an opportunity to thank the Chelsea’s fans for the affection and the great interaction I had with them.”

Brazil have slipped to 18th in the world rankings as a result of competitive action and have not won in 2013, losing 2-1 to England before playing out a 2-2 draw with Italy on Thursday.

In that match, Fred and Oscar scored in the first half to have Scolari’s men in control but Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli struck after the break to ensure both sides would share the spoils.

Oscar is one of three Chelsea players likely to feature for Brazil, with David Luiz and Ramires also set to play.

Scolari has already said he will make changes to his defence, with PSG defender Thiago Silva and Real Madrid’s Marcelo set to replace Dante and Filipe Luis at the back.

Striker Neymar featured for the entire 90 minutes against Italy and is likely to start again, perhaps with Hulk for Brazil.

The match – the first international fixture at Stamford Bridge for more than 60 years – will also mark a return to London for Russia coach Fabio Capello.

Capello had an unsuccessful time in charge of the English national team from 2007 and 2012.

His new side are in good form though and have risen to 10th in the world rankings thanks to wins in five of their past six matches.

Russia have played just once in 2013 – a 2-0 friendly win over Iceland – after their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland was postponed twice at the weekend due to heavy snowfall in Belfast.

Monday’s other friendly sees Canada take on Belarus in Doha.

Canada have won just one of their past six matches in a dreadful run of form and will enter the match fresh off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Japan.

Belarus also lost a friendly recently, 1-0 to Jordan, with an even contest expected in Qatar.


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