Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday’s international friendly between Brazil and Honduras.
Brazil feature in their final international friendly before the Copa America on Sunday as Tite‘s side take on Honduras at Estadio Jose Pinheiro Borda.
Honduras are preparing for their appearance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and they head into this game on the back of three matches without a win.
Brazil deserve their tag as pre-tournament favourites ahead of the Copa America, with a nine-match unbeaten streak having been put together since last summer’s World Cup.
That will not completely satisfy head coach Tite, however, with Brazil having struggled to record emphatic victories, even against some of world football’s minor opposition.
Saudi Arabia and Panama have given good accounts of themselves against the five-time world champions, and Qatar became the next of the so-called underdogs to earn a respectable result against Brazil earlier this week.
Brazil quickly established a two-goal advantage over the 2022 World Cup hosts, but that was as good as it got as Qatar saw out the reminder of the match without further damage.
Tite may feel that his squad are still gelling together given that this was just their third outing since November, although their supporters would have been disappointed with the efforts in front of goal.
Nevertheless, the game saw each of Richarlison and Gabriel Jesus continue their recent good form for their country, something which they will hope to continue in the absence of the injured Neymar.
A further positive was another clean sheet being recorded by the backline, and Brazil have now conceded just the two goals in their last nine outings.
That record will go a long way to reassuring Tite as his side go through their final preparations ahead of their Copa America fixtures with Bolivia, Venezuela and Peru respectively.
Recent form: WWWDWW
Honduras came close to securing a place at last summer’s World Cup, with the Central American nation losing out to Australia in a playoff, but it has been a period of change for the nation since that disappointment.
Three defeats in five followed and so did an alteration in the dugout as Fabian Coito was handed the reins in February, giving the new manager just three games ahead of the Gold Cup.
There have already been signs of improvement from Honduras, with back-to-back draws being recorded against Ecuador and Paraguay at the end of March and start of this month respectively.
Honduras have now only won four times in 20 attempts, however, and Coito can continue to try to develop this squad without necessarily being placed under considerable pressure to succeed in the short term.
That said, being provided with group fixtures against Jamaica, Curacao and El Salvador has provided Honduras with an opportunity to bed into the Gold Cup, meaning that they will be desperate to avoid a heavy defeat ahead of those contests.
Coito will be realistic about what Honduras can achieve against Brazil, although the Uruguayan will be eager for his group of players to seize their moment when taking on a side filled with such quality.
Honduras are not strangers to making things difficult for Brazil, but it may take a resilient defensive effort given the lack of goals in this squad.
Captain and former Wigan Athletic full-back Maynor Figueroa will hope to receive his 152nd cap this weekend.
Recent form: LDWLDD
Roberto Firmino was substituted during the second half of the Champions league final, but the forward should be ready to start in attack this weekend.
Cassio could be preferred to Firmino’s Liverpool teammate Alisson between the sticks, while Fernandinho may come into the middle of the park in place of Casemiro.
Thiago Silva should replace Miranda – who played the full 90 minutes against Qatar – with Eder Militao potentially having to start at right-back due to Fagner‘s injury problems.
Allan and David Neres could also be handed starting roles if Tite decides to ensure that each of his squad are given minutes ahead of the Copa America.
However, Honduras boss Coito may keep changes to a minimum from the opening whistle in a bid to remain competitive during the opening 45 minutes.
Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre should take his spot at left-back, with Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis being provided with a start in attack.
Brazil possible starting lineup:
Cassio; Militao, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro; Arthur, Fernandinho, Allan; Neres, Firmino, Richarlison
Honduras possible starting lineup:
L.Lopez; Beckeles, M.Figueroa, H.Figueroa, Izaguirre; Garrido, Rivas, A.Lopez, Chirinos; Elis, Rojas
Head To Head
Sunday’s meeting will represent the eighth clash between the two nations, with Brazil registering five wins in comparison to just the one victory for Honduras.
That surprise success came at the 2001 Copa America, but Brazil have prevailed on three occasions since losing in Colombia.
Two of those games were won by a narrow margin, however, and Brazil only earned a 1-0 success in the last contest in June 2015.
We say: Brazil 3-0 Honduras
Brazil have not made a habit of scoring lots of goals, but we feel that Tite’s side will ease to victory on Sunday. There will be rotation in the squad, although the players involved will see this as an opportunity to earn a starting role against Bolivia.