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Brazil - Iraq Preview: Kaka set for Selecao return after a two-year absence
The Real Madrid star has not featured for his country since World Cup elimination in 2010 and is in line for a starting berth against the Lions of Mesopotamia in Sweden
By Tom Webber
Adriano, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marcelo
Rehema, Shakir, Samal, Abbas
Samer, Akram, Munir, Khalid
Kaka could be in line to make a starting return for Brazil following two years out in the cold when the Selecao take on Iraq in Malmo on Thursday.
Mano Menezes may start the Real Madrid man, who has made just three appearances for his club so far this season, in attacking-midfield alongside Oscar. Hulk and Neymar will start up front as Leandro Damiao, reportedly unhappy at his selection, sat out the first training session due to injury.
Adriano could start at right-back as Daniel Alves came off early during Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Real Madrid at the weekend but Marcelo holds onto his spot on the left of defence.
For Iraq, the experienced Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram will play crucial roles in attack and midfield respectively, whilst seasoned full-backs Bassim Abbas and Ali Rehema will form part of a defence that could total an impressive 276 caps.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Brazil secured a comprehensive victory in Sweden as recently August 2012. A late Alexandre Pato double added to a Leandro Damiao header in a 3-0 win over the host country.
The Canarinho have won their last four fixtures, netting a total of 14 goals whilst conceding just one.
- The second leg of Brazil's Superclasico de las Americas tie with Argentina was postponed last week due to floodlight issues in Resistencia.
- Mano Menezes could hand debuts to Gremio's 20-year-old midfielder Fernando and Roma centre-back Leandro Castan.
Iraq are coached by Brazilian legend Zico (pictured right). His assistant, Edu, was also capped 54 times by the Selecao.
The Middle-Eastern nation, who are 80th in the Fifa rankings, are 66 places below their opponents.
- This match will be the first ever time that these two sides have faced one another in an international match.
- Iraq possess a highly experienced squad with an astonishing total of 925 caps shared between the team selected by Zico. This starkly contrasts to the 325 appearances amassed by the current crop of Brazil players.
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Top 3 Predictions
Brazil 4-0 Iraq
- 14.34 %
Brazil 3-0 Iraq
- 11.17 %
Brazil 5-0 Iraq
- 8.85 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Oct 11, 2012||Brazil 6 - Iraq 0|
|Apr 25, 2013||Brazil 2 - Chile 2||FR|
|Apr 6, 2013||Bolivia 0 - Brazil 4||FR|
|Mar 25, 2013||Brazil 1 - Russia 1||FR|
|Mar 21, 2013||Italy 2 - Brazil 2||FR|
|Feb 6, 2013||England 2 - Brazil 1||FR|
|Returns:||Brazil £10.91||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £610.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Iraq £1260.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|2||Ahmad Ibrahim Khalaf||Defender|
|-||Mostafa Karim Abdullah|
|17||Alaa Abdul Zahra||Striker|