Brazil will get their World Cup campaign underway on June 17, and they’ll be desperate to have talisman Neymar fit and ready to start the tournament.
Given their history in the World Cup, the Selecao will start as one of the favourites in Russia, but first they’ll need to navigate their way out of a tricky-looking group.
Coach Tite will prepare his side to face Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia later this month, but first they’ll take on Croatia and Austria in friendlies to get his squad ready for the more important business that lies ahead.
The big news will of course surround Neymar, who as reported by The Guardian, suffered a foot injury in February which forced him to miss the remainder of the campaign for Paris Saint-Germain.
Given his importance to the side, Brazil will be desperate to have the 26-year-old fully fit and ready to play a key role in the World Cup, and Tite has hinted that he’ll get his first run out against Croatia at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
“He’s on the bench because he is still recovering,” Tite told reporters, as per ESPN. “He will come on at half-time. Whom he replaces, I don’t know, but that is the idea.”
He went further and revealed his starting line-up which is seen below, but the focus will be on Neymar’s return and how he looks.
Ultimately, the hope from a Brazilian perspective will be to see him come through unscathed and working on his match fitness, with the game against Austria perhaps another opportunity to help him regain his conditioning and play a prominent role in the group stages.
Brazil XI vs Croatia: Alisson; Danilo, Miranda, Silva, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Fernandinho; Coutinho, Willian, Gabriel Jesus.