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International Friendly: Samba Boys Set for Showdown with Asian Champions


International Friendly: Samba Boys Set for Showdown with Asian Champions

Brazil vs Qatar

South American giants Brazil have two warm-up matches scheduled ahead of the 2019 Copa America, with the first International Friendly coming against reigning Asian champions Qatar.

South American giants Brazil have two warm-up matches scheduled ahead of the 2019 Copa America, with the first International Friendly coming against reigning Asian champions Qatar.

The Selecao are considered one of the big favourites to win the Copa, which they will host for the first time in 30 years.

They will be eager to gain positive momentum heading into the tournament, and a matchup against Qatar should be a perfect opportunity to do so.

The Qataris will be back in action for the first time since their stunning victory at the Asian Cup. And while they are not expected to escape the Maracana with an even more shocking win, they will at least look to show that they can be competitive ahead of their Copa America debut.

Talking Points

Brazil on a roll

Brazil’s 2018 World Cup ended in disappointment as they fell to Belgium in the quarter-finals. But since then, the Selecao’s international friendly 2019 results have been quite impressive. They are currently undefeated in their last eight friendly matches (seven wins, one draw).

Their defence has been a major factor in their success as they’ve conceded just two goals in those eight games. Although, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in their last two outings.

The only match they failed to win during that stretch was a surprising 1-1 draw against Panama back in March. In that match, manager Tite fielded an experimental squad which didn’t feature the team’s top stars.

They did bounce back a few days later by beating the Czech Republic 3-1 in Prague. Gabriel Jesus scored two late goals to lead the Brazilians to victory.

With first-choice centre-forward Roberto Firmino fresh off Champions League glory with Liverpool, Jesus will likely get his chance to lead the line for Brazil against Qatar.

The Manchester City forward spent most of this season on the bench due to Sergio Aguero’s magnificent form. However, he was still able to score a respectable 21 goals in all competitions for the English champions.

Meanwhile, Neymar — who is once again dealing with serious off-field issues ahead of the tournament — should also get a run-out.

The Brazilian superstar is still looking to reach full fitness after missing most of the season with a foot injury. He suffered another scare in practice last week as he appeared to pick up a knee injury. But he has since resumed training, which bodes well for his chances of featuring against Qatar.

Qatar hoping to keep up

Qatar are set for their first taste of competitive football since their remarkable run to win the Asian Cup for the first time in their history earlier this year.

The Qataris were simply dominant in that tournament as they won all seven of their matches and conceded just one goal, which came in their 3-1 win over Japan in the final.

Striker Almoez Ali was the breakout star of the tournament for Qatar. The 22-year-old set a new Asian Cup record for most goals in a single tournament with nine.

Manager Felix Sanchez has selected more or less the same Asian Cup-winning squad to take part in their first-ever Copa America campaign. Despite only two players over the age of 30, this is quite an experienced group. Twelve of the 23 squad members have at least 35 caps to their name.

While the international friendly 2019 betting odds will be stacked heavily against the Qataris, they have shown in the past that they are capable of causing a surprise. They scored a shocking 1-0 win over Switzerland last year thanks to an 86th-minute Akram Afif goal.

History

There’s not much history to talk about with Brazil and Qatar. The two countries have met on the football field just one other time previously, and that was way back in 1979. Unsurprisingly, the Samba Boys won that match quite comfortably, 6-1.

Betting Tip

Qatar Asian Handicap +2.50 @ 2.05

To the surprise of no one, Qatar’s chances of causing a massive upset and beating Brazil at the Maracana are very slim. SBOBET odds currently have them priced at an astronomical 28.00 to win on the 1X2 market.

However, Qatar could prove to be quite a strong bet on the Asian Handicap market. For one, they will likely adopt an ultra-conservative defensive gameplan in order to make things as hard as possible for their hosts to break them down.

Meanwhile, Brazil haven’t exactly been banging in the goals of late. They have won by more than two goals just once in their last eight matches, and that was against El Salvador (5-0). They could only beat another Middle East side in Saudi Arabia 2-0 and also laboured to a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

With Qatar more than comfortable parking the bus on Brazil, the hosts should find it tough to win by a three-goal margin.

 

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