Brazil-Russia Preview: Scolari still searching for first victory of second stint
The winless Canarinho boss will be eager to taste victory for the first time since returning to the helm, but will face tough opposition in Fabio Capello's undefeated side
By Tom Webber
Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo
Oscar, Kaka, Neymar
Anyukov, V. B'skiy, Ignashevich, A. B'skiy
Bystrov, Dzagoev, Shirokov
Luiz Felipe Scolari will be keen to pick up his first win since returning as Brazil coach when they take on Russia at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
The trainer is expected to bring in additional experience to a defence that surrendered a two-goal lead against Italy last week, with Thiago Silva and Marcelo replacing Dante and Filipe Luis respectively. Fernando and Hernanes are expected to continue their partnership in midfield with Ramires doubtful after struggling to shake off a knock.
The only other change from the former Chelsea boss will see Hulk drop to the bench with Kaka awarded a starting berth behind Fred.
Russia's preparations, meanwhile, have been far from ideal with their World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland postponed twice. However, the only likely absentee for Fabio Capello's side will be Igor Denisov who misses out through illness and so Roman Shirokov will captain the side.
Dmitri Tarasov could therefore be handed his international debut in midfield, while the experienced Alexandr Kerzhakov is expected to lead the line.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Brazil have never lost against Monday's opponents. Including fixtures with the former Soviet Union, the South American side have picked up eight wins in 10 meetings between the two nations.
The Selecao came out on top the last time these two went head-to-head. Ronaldo (pictured right) scored the decisive goal in a 1-0 win in Moscow.
- Luiz Felipe Scolari is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, having coached Chelsea for just over seven months in the 2008-09 Premier League season
- Russia are unbeaten under Fabio Capello and have not lost since their Euro 2012 elimination at the hands of Greece last June.
- Alexandr Kerzhakov is just four goals away from joining Vladimir Beschastnykh as the eastern European nation's all-time leading goalscorer.
An appearance for Aleksandr Anyukov will see him join Andrei Arshavin, who has been cut from the squad, on 74 caps.
- Brazil are currently in 18th position in the Fifa rankings, their lowest position since the classification's inception, while Russia occupy 10th place.
|Nov 18, 2015||Brazil 3 - Peru 0||WCQ|
|Nov 14, 2015||Argentina 1 - Brazil 1||WCQ|
|Oct 14, 2015||Brazil 3 - Venezuela 1||WCQ|
|Oct 9, 2015||Chile 2 - Brazil 0||WCQ|
|Sep 9, 2015||United States 1 - Brazil 4||FR|