FIFA World Cup Possible Game Plan, Formations and Lineups

Favourites Brazil will begin their 2022 World Cup campaign with a Group G fixture against Serbia at Lusail Stadium on Thursday night. The Selecao are the only team in the history of the World Cup to have participated in the finals of every single edition since its inception in 1930. This time around, as usual, Brazil qualified for the global event with ease, remaining unbeaten in 17 CONMEBOL qualifying games to collect 45 points, six more than second-placed Argentina in the 10-team group. Serbia, on the other hand, earned a spot in the finals of the global event courtesy of securing top spot in Group A of the UEFA qualifiers, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo’s portugal. 

Game Plan

Brazil are heading into the match on the back of a seven-game winning streak and their last outing against Tunisia ended a 5-1 victory, two months ago. Tite’s side have managed to score 26 times in that period, while conceding only two goals. The Brazilian tactician has immense depth in the attacking department, consisting of Neymar, Vinicius, Rodrygo, Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta. The 61-year-old could opt for four attackers in the playing eleven, with Casemiro and Fred sitting in front of the back-four. Versatile midfielder Paqueta might be deployed in a free-role, behind the centre-forward Richarlison, with Neymar and Raphinha occupying the flanks. The ability of the four attackers to fluently interchange positions and play quick passing football in-and-around the penalty box would be crucial to Brazil’s success. Brazil would have the bulk of the ball possession but Serbia could be lethal from counter-attacks.

Serbia, on the other hand, are likely to opt for a more direct football with a 3-4-3 formation. Since Aleksandar Mitrovic hasn’t fully recovered from an ankle injury and may not be fit for a place in the starting eleven, Jovic is the front-runner to partner Dusan Vlahovic up front. Serbia’s game plan is likely to be to sit back, defend and hit the opposition on the counter. Dragan Strojkovic’s side have enough pace in their ranks to trouble Brazil’s back-four which might be marshaled by the 38-year-old Thiago Silva. Meanwhile, considering the fact that the Selecao might opt for an attacking lineup, Serbia’s wingers Kostic and Zivkovic could get opportunities to exploit the spaces in the flanks. This game is likely to be much more tighter than many would expect it to be. Since the big guns like Argentina and Germany have already faltered in the opening round and Belgium were made to run for their money in the 1-0 win over Canada, Serbia would be hoping to cause another upset in Qatar. 

Read more: Germany vs Japan: Talking points as Japan shock Hansi Flick’s men

Probable Lineups

Tite had a fully-fit squad at his disposal and his only headache would be to select the best playing eleven from the plethora of world class talent at his disposal. The 61-year-old might opt for a 4-2-3-1 with Richarlison leading the line. The Tottenham striker has recovered from an injury and is reportedly fit to start. Meanwhile, choosing between Paqueta and Vinicius could be a headache for Tite.. As for Serbia, Mitrovoc is unlikely to start on Thursday having not fully recovered from an ankle injury.. Therefore Fiorentina-man Jovic is expected to partner Dusan Vlahovic up front, with Tadic operating behind the strikers in a free role. Lazio-man Milinkovic-Savic could pull the strings in the midfield, with Kostic and Zivkovic occupying the flanks. 

Brazil probable starting lineup: Alisson, Danilo, Thiago, Marquinhos, Sandro, Casemiro, Fred, Raphinha, Neymar, Paqueta, Richarlison

Serbia probable starting lineup: V. Milinkovic,-Savic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic, Zivkovic, Gudelj, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic, Tadic, Vlahovic, Jovic

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