Brazil vs Serbia : Match preview, team news and possible lineups

Last Updated on 24/11/2022 by

Brazil is the tournament favourite and has high expectations going into their opening match against Serbia in Qatar 2022, but head coach Tite acknowledges that there are lessons to be learned from recent setbacks.

The Selecao has a record of five World Cup victories, but hasn’t taken home the most coveted trophy since 2002, when they defeated Germany 2-0 in the championship game. Since then, Brazil has only once advanced to the semifinals and has lost three quarterfinal matches, including one to Belgium four years ago.

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However, Tite is hoping for a better result this time as he becomes the first manager to take Brazil to back-to-back World Cup finals since Tele Santana in the 1980s.

Having followed a record-breaking CONMEBOL qualifying campaign in which they won 14 and drew three of their 17 games, Brazil arrived in Qatar as the only country in World Cup history to have qualified for each and every contest since the first one in 1930.

The Selecao hasn’t lost in any of their last 15 World Cup group stage games since having lost 2-1 to Norway back in 1998. They’ve also had little trouble in the group phase over the years.

The tension is on Tite’s talented team, which FIFA has ranked as the best in the world, to stay true to the pre-tournament popularity and enhance on their quarterfinal exit against Belgium 4 years ago. Nevertheless, 2 decades have passed since Brazil won their 5th World Cup in Seoul.

The Selecao are brimming with confidence heading into Thursday’s matchup as they showcase a 15-game undefeated streak throughout all tournaments, having won each of their previous 7 by an overall score of 26-2. Serbia is the first country to test Brazil’s credentials.

Brazil has won both of their previous encounters with Serbia keeping a clean sheet, and the last time Tite’s team lost in any tournament was a narrow 1-0 loss to South American competitors Argentina in the 2021 Copa America final.

Serbia has failed to advance past the group stage at each of its previous three World Cups since gaining independence in 1990, but there is hope that they will succeed in Qatar and make it all the way to the knockout stages.

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The Eagles, who are currently ranked number 25 in the world by FIFA, performed admirably in UEFA qualifying, topping their group after having won 6 and drawing 2 of their 8 games, including a dramatic 2-1 victory over Portugal in their final game.

After winning four and drawing two of their subsequent six games, Dragan Stojkovic’s team was promoted to League A of the UEFA Nations League earlier this year. In fact, the 1-0 loss to Norway in June was one of just two defeats they’ve experienced in their previous 16 international games overall.

Although their performance on European soil has been remarkable, Stojkovic and company now have the difficult task of translating that success to the international arena, and they could not have chosen a more difficult opponent to kick off their World Cup campaign than five-time world cup winners Brazil.

With seven losses in a total of nine World Cup games—the most of any European country and just one less than Australia’s regrettable record of eight—Serbia needs a strong performance to secure a draw at the very least.

Brazil Team News

After recovering from minor issues, Antony, Bruno Guimaraes, and Alex Telles will all be available for Thursday’s match, according to Brazil manager Tite. Assuming the reports are accurate, the Selecao may use a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with captain Thiago Silva starting in the back four alongside Danilo, Marquinhos, and Alex Sandro, protecting starting goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

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The most likely center-midfielders to start are Casemiro and Lucas Paqueta, with Neymar, the star player, possibly playing either side of Raphinha and Vinicius Junior in the number 10 position. Richarlison of Tottenham Hotspur, who overcame a calf injury in time for the World Cup, is likely to start as the line-leader instead of Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal.

Brazil possible starting lineup:

Alisson Becker; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta; Raphinha, Neymar Jr., Vinicius Jr; Richarlison

Player to watch


With three goals remaining, Neymar can pass Pele as the all-time leading scorer for Brazil as he enters his third and, in his own words, potentially final World Cup. The in-form Psg forward can take pride in his own performance, managed to score six goals and provided two assists, despite the Selecao’s failure in both of his appearances. In reality, Neymar has been involved directly in 42% of his team’s 19 goals in the World Cup since his home-country debut in 2014.

Serbia Team News

Aleksandar Mitrovic of Serbia, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, is anticipated to start on the bench as a substitute, with Luka Jovic set to start alongside Dusan Vlahovic up front. Strahinja Pavlovic hopes to join Nikola Milenkovic and Stefan Mitrovic at centre back as Stojkovic switches back to a three-man defence after starting with four defenders in the 5-1 friendly victory over Bahrain last week.

In spite of having only 7 caps for the national football team, goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic is anticipated to start in front of Marko Dmitrovic and Predrag Rajkovic. All three defenders may be tasked with protecting him. Nemanja Gudelj of Sevilla and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic of Lazio are expected to start in centre midfield, with Andrija Zivkovic and Filip Kostic serving as wingbacks to provide width, and captain Dusan Tadic expected to start at number 10.

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Serbia possible starting lineup:

Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Filip Kostic; Tadic; Dusan Vlahovic, Luka Jovic

Player to watch

Aleksandar Mitrovic

If Serbia wants to pull off a major upset, their star players must be available, especially prolific striker Mitrovic. Only Memphis Depay as well as Harry Kane, who both had 12 goals, could have scored more goals in European qualifying than the Fulham player’s eight goals in eight games on the way to Qatar. At the club level, Mitrovic has also been in outstanding form this season, tallying 9 goals in 12 Premier League appearances to place 4th in the Golden Boot race.


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