Samba Superstars and Scotland
Although an utterly stupid time to have a international friendly, Scotland’s trip down south to face the Samba superstars of Brazil is a great chance for our players to show their worth against a truly world-class side.
The Emirates will be full of the Tartan Army as they make their first appearance in London since the 1-0 over England in a European Championship qualifier in 1999 at the old Wembley. The glamour match kicks off at 1400 GMT and comes at the end of a five-day training camp for the Scots at La Manga in Spain. It will be the 10th meeting between the nations, with Brazil boasting seven wins, while there have been two draws. Scotland last played the five-time World Cup winners in the curtain-raiser to the France 1998 tournament.
Sunday’s friendly provides an opportunity for the Scots to get a result against a world-class outfit. And its do-able. Althought our squad is ravaged by injuries, Brazil’s isn’t looking too pretty either. Here it is;
Goalkeepers: Victor (Gremio), Jefferson (Botafogo), Julio Cesar (Inter Milan)
Defenders: Lucio, Maicon (both Inter Milan), Thiago Silva (AC Milan), David Luiz (Chelsea), Luisao (Benfica), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Andre Santos (Fenerbahce), Daniel Alves (Barcelona)
Midfielders: Lucas (Sao Paulo), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Elano (Santos), Elias (Atletico Madrid), Henrique (Cruzeiro), Jadson (Shakhtar Donetsk), Ramires (Chelsea), Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur), Renato Augusto (Bayer Leverkusen)
Forwards: Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Jonas (Valencia), Neymar (Santos), Nilmar (Villarreal)
Now, I am not for one minute saying that is not still a class squad. It is still full of quality. With the exception of Pato from Milan however, most of the top-quality stars come in defence like Dani Alves, David Luiz, Lucio and Maicon. This side can be gotten at, especially if Craig Levein plays an attacking formation.
After good victories over the Faroe Islands and Northern Ireland, the Scotland squad will be quietly confident of causing an upset at the emirates. However, victory is not essential. A good performance against Brazil, the 5-time world champions, would be brilliant. Of course, we can all dream of a famous victory over the Brazilians, but it will be a huge task for Levein’s men.
Although a meaningless friendly, a win on Sunday would mean so much for Scotland as a football nation. It would help our ranking for sure and give us confidence for the next European Championship qualifier against the Czech Republic at Hampden on September 3rd.
Everyone seems to have a love affair with the yellow and green of Brazil, and rightly so. Greats like Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho have lit up the world stage. Their philisophy is one to admire. Entertain the supporters, at all times. But what makes Brazil so special is that they combine entertaining with winning at the highest possible level.
We may be seeing Brazil decline in international status as players get older and the new crop don’t live up to the standards, but they will always be the world-class Brazil to me.