Neymar and Brazil start the assault on the sixth star

Neymar makes his debut today in what may be the last World Cup of his career in a demanding match against Serbia that will gauge whether the expectations that place Brazil as the great candidate to win his sixth star have a solid foundation.

Tite has a squad full of figures in all its lines, especially up front, but at no time has he released a pledge of what his line-up will be in the debut against a Serbia that Brazil, with him already as coach, beat four years ago in the group stage of the World Cup in Russia 2-0.

Then Paulinho opened the scoring in Moscow and Thiago Silva closed it, who today and in his fourth World Cup, at 38, will once again lead the defense of the ‘canarinha’. Alisson is also safe under the sticks, like Casemiro and Neymar, the bastions of this team that mixes seniority and a youth led by Real Madrid players Vinicius and Rodrygo, although Tite did not reveal yesterday what the rest of the starting eleven will be and if in the 4-2 -3-1 there will be a place for Raphinha from Barcelona.

No clues for the rival

«I’m not going to say what the lineup is because I don’t want to give any information to my rivals,» said Tite, who held a day of training behind closed doors this week and in the other two days he only opened the exercises for 15 minutes for the press.

«We have to find a balance between attackers and defenders,» said Tite, who only gave a hint when setting out his strategy: «We must bear in mind that with five substitutions we can change the pace of play more often.»

preview brazil-serbia

preview brazil-serbia

Serbia is aware of the rival it will face but is willing to put up a fight. They have the resources to do so and even surprise, as they demonstrated in the qualifying phase by finishing first in the group and sending Portugal to the play-off with a goal in the 90th minute by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Precisely the Fulham striker and Dusan Vlahovic, the figure of this team, form a fearsome goalscoring duo, perfectly seconded by Dusan Tadic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Filip Kostic, a forward that commands respect.

«We are not afraid of anyone, not even Brazil»

“This starts zero-zero, so we can both win. We are not afraid of anyone, not even Brazil,» said a challenger Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia’s coach. “Brazil is very lucky to have four forwards (4-2-3-1), but they will also have to defend someone, right? They are one of the best teams in the world, for me they now have the golden generation”.

Vlahovic and Mitrovic, OK; Kostic, doubt

Serbia is ready and will be able to have Mitrovic and Vlahovic, who have suffered from physical problems in recent weeks. The Juventus striker, out since October 25 due to groin pain, reappeared and scored a goal in the second half of last Friday’s friendly against Bahrain (1-5). Instead, Kostic carries muscle fatigue and could be low.