Full steam ahead as the Selecao freight train arrives in Asia

Brazil arrive in Asia for clashes with South Korea and Zambia this week on the next stop on the Gillette Brasil Global Tour hoping to build on their fine recent form
Brazil will be hoping to keep up the momentum by claiming their third successive victory on Saturday when they take on South Korea at the World Cup stadium in Seoul for the next leg of the Gillette Brasil Global Tour.

The fixture will be swiftly followed by a clash with Zambia three days later in Beijing.

The Selecao have reacted strongly to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Switzerland in August which ended an 11-game unbeaten run, overpowering Australia 6-0 before beating Portugal 3-1 at the Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts last month.

Both victories saw coach Luiz Felipe Scolari slightly alter his set-up to something more closely resembling a 4-3-3 as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 he has deployed since returning to the bench in November last year for his second stint in charge of his country.

Chelsea midfielder Ramires impressed in the midfield three following his recall to the international setup after missing out on a place at the Confederations Cup and these two games will offer a chance for a few other newcomers to try to cement their own places in the squad as Brazil race towards the World Cup next year.

With Fred, Maicon and Julio Cesar and captain Thiago Silva all missing through injury, Cruzeiro defender Dede, Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor, Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva and Corinthians forward Alexandre Pato will all be keen to impress.

June 15 Confed Cup Japan 3-0
June 19 Confed Cup Mexico 2-0
June 22 Confed Cup Italy 4-2
June 26 Confed Cup Uruguay 2-1
June 30 Confed Cup Spain 3-0
Aug 14 Friendly Switzerland 0-1
Sept 7 Friendly Australia 6-0
Sept 11 Friendly Portugal 3-1

Brazil’s stirring Confederations Cup victory saw Felipao forge a strong sense of community in the squad, evoking comparisons to the ‘Scolari family’ that went on to World Cup glory in 2002, leaving the new arrivals just as keen to impress the coach off the field as on.

As the players took to training in Seoul this week, there were more signs of the growing bond within the group, illustrated with Luiz Gustavo’s words of welcome to midfield competition in the form of Lucas Leiva, who is set for his first international appearance since 2011.

“Despite being a competitor, it’s important that the group is aware that there is healthy competition for places,” said the Wolfsburg man. “[Lucas] deserves this chance.”

Following what many anticipated to be a difficult period of transition following the departure of former coach Mano Menezes last year, Scolari and team director Carlos Alberto Perreira have Brazil in good shape as their preparations continue ahead a World Cup that they will play on home soil for only the second time - and they’ll be desperate to go one better than the runners-up prize claimed by the Selecao in 1950.

With both having previously led Brazil to World Cup glory as coaches – Scolari in 2002 and Perreira in 1994 – the Confederacao Brasileira de Futebol (CBF) will firmly believe they have left the side in capable hands.

With the performances largely as positive as the results since the duo took charge, Brazil come into these two friendly dates with a full head of steam and will be determined to keep the Selecao freight train on the right track.