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  • October 11, 2012
  • • 19:30
  • • Swedbank Stadion, Malmö
  • Referee: M. Hansson
  • • Attendance: 14147

Brazil - Iraq Preview: Kaka set for Selecao return after a two-year absence

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



Diego Alves
Adriano, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marcelo

Paulinho, Ramires
Kaka, Oscar
Hulk, Neymar


Rehema, Shakir, Samal, Abbas
Samer, Akram, Munir, Khalid
Mahmoud, Karim

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.

  • 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.

Players to watch


Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The 20-year-old came in for criticism during Brazil's Olympic Games campaign but a shift to a more central striking role will offer him more freedom against Iraq. He will still pull wide on the left flank, but he is less likely to be expected to track back and help Marcelo defend. Having sat out Santos' Brasileiro game against Internacional at the weekend due to suspension, Neymar has finally had a rest and he will be eager to get back out onto the field and prove himself for the Selecao. His ability on the ball is well documented and if he is in the right mood then he has every chance of providing a decisive difference.

Nashat Akram

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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If Iraq want to take something positive from this game they will need to contest the midfield heavily and in Nashat Akram they have an excellent ball player. The 112-times capped former Twente man will be the creative hub of the side if Zico can encourage his side to gain possession and keep hold of the ball. The midfielder also has a wicked shot among his arsenal and so cannot be allowed too much time, something which may be hard to limit if Menezes opts for both Oscar and Kaka in midfield.

Editor's Prediction

Brazil come into this game with four successive wins under their belt since a virtuoso Lionel Messi hat-trick inflicted their last defeat back in June. With form on their side, they should have more than enough about them to see off Iraq in Malmo. However, Zico's side is one of vast experience and they will not be overawed by the prospect of facing such a prestigious opponent. Wins over Saudi Arabia and South Korea this year, as well as a narrow defeat to Japan, suggest this will be no walkover for Mano Menezes' men. A change in formation and more new faces could cause a struggle for fluency in the Brazil side, but their superior quality should see them through.

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