Brazil take on Honduras on Sunday night in their final friendly before the beginning of the Copa America, in which they will be hosting home soil without Neymar.
Estádio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Key Stat: Brazil have gone unbeaten since their defeat at the World Cup to Belgium in the quarterfinals, winning eight of their nine games along the way.
Expert Verdict: Brazil are simply the better of the two teams that are going to be meeting here. Even when you factor in that they may end up playing a largely second-string side, you have to like their chances against Honduras, who are not in their all-time best moment. They haven't been in a few years now, so it's going to be tough for them to contain Brazil, much less get at them and put the hosts under any real pressure.
Tite got the awful news that Neymar will be out of the Copa America due to an ankle injury on Wednesday. After that, you could- and should- see him rest some stars, since they have the tournament starting in five days. Lucas Moura has been called up in his place.
With Neymar out, Lucas Moura is going to see this as his chance to make an impact for his national side. The Tottenham man was such a key part of the Champions League run-in, producing a massive hat trick in the semi-finals and surely prompting his inclusion into this squad. Up front could be Richarlison, the Everton man, and he is one to watch for the over the coming years, too, as he tries to cement his place in the team further. He has four goals in just nine appearances for the Selecao, so he’s off to a good start for sure.
Brazil have four wins and a draw in their last five matches:
2-0 home win vs Qatar
1-3 win at Czech Republic
1-1 home draw vs Panama
1-0 home win vs Cameroon
1-0 home win vs Uruguay
Defenders:Militao, Miranda, Marquinhos, Sandro
Defensive Midfielders:Arthur, Allan
Attacking Midfielders:Paqueta, Everton, Moura
Fabian Coito decided against call ups for goalkeeper Harold Fonseca and defender Juan Pablo Montes after they were among those in the pre- Gold Cup squad. Striker Anthony Lozano, of Girona, is ruled out due to an injury.
The old veteran Maynor Figueroa just keeps on ticking, and he might be more important now for Honduras than he has ever been. The former Wigan man captains the side and has 151 caps to his name so far. He will marshal them from central defence. But don’t be surprised if somehow, some way, he is a threat going forward, too. Up front, they have pacy Houston Dynamo man Alberth Elis to lead the line. He is speed personified, and though he is a little inconsistent, he can torch the Selecao if they aren’t mindful of him.
Honduras have three draws, a loss, and a win in their last five matches:
1-1 draw at Paraguay
0-0 home draw vs Ecuador
4-1 loss at Chile
1-0 home win vs Panama
1-1 draw at UAE
Defenders:Beckeles, Henry Figueroa, Maynor Figueroa, Izaguirre
Midfielders:Garrido, Acosta, Alexander Lopez, Chirinos
In five prior matches, Brazil have four wins and Honduras have one. The shock Honduras victory came back in 2001 at the Copa America. The last meeting came in 2015 as Brazil won 1-0, and the one before that was a 0-5 Selecao thumping.
Betfair have the following odds available for this match:
Brazil are at 1.08 to win, a draw is at 9.5, and a Honduras win is at 23.0.
Brazil didn’t get the result they were hoping for last summer in Russia at the World Cup, but they are still right up there as one of the finest teams in the world. The five time world champions have had a year that has included 12 wins, two draws, and just one loss. That’s it for them, such has been how impressive they have been. For most sides, that would be great, but for them, it’s just not quite enough. And due to that, they will be expected to win the Copa America, even without Neymar. They will kick off the group with Bolivia on Friday, with matches against Venezuela and Peru in the group following. In the last year, they have four wins and a draw at home.
Honduras did not make it to the World Cup last summer, and as such have had a lack of matches when compared to Brazil over the course of the last year. In that time, they have played just five times, winning once, drawing three times, and losing once. The loss came against Chile 4-1, and it’s not even a very strong Chile right now, so you fear for them just a little bit here if Brazil get on song and rev into form. Like Brazil, they have a tournament to prepare for, and this is their final warm up ahead of it. They will head to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where they will face off with Jamaica, Curacao, and El Salvador in the group stage.
Betfair have no for both sides scoring at 1.53.
Ladbrokes have Brazil to lead at half and full time at ½.
Brazil simply have too many options available to them. Even if they find themselves in a spot of bother, they have a number of great players that can bail them out of any issues. They waltz toward the Copa America with a win here.