Brazil warm up for World Cup challenge with friendly against Croatia

Kick-off will be at 5.00pm local time at Anfield Road, Liverpool


Brazil, the five-time world champions and one of the favourites to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, start their final preparations for the tournament this Sunday against Croatia at Liverpool’s famous Anfield Road stadium. Under boss Tite, Brazil’s form has been nothing short of excellent, with the seleção winning an incredible 15 games of 19 under his stewardship and losing just once.

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Brazil are one of the most in-form teams on the planet right now and as such are considered by many as one of the front runners to win the World Cup this summer. In March, they comfortably beat World Cup hosts Russia as well as exacting some small revenge on reigning world champions Germany, who of course thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup semi-finals four years ago at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte.

Brazil are currently enjoying a nine-game unbeaten streak, winning six and drawing three of those outings. They therefore come into this match as the clear favourites to walk away with the win.

Looking at the simplest kind of bet you can make – who will win a given game, or whether it will be a draw – the smart money would look to be on Brazil in this contest. The South American giants are priced at just 1.50 to win the game, whilst Croatia are all the way out at 7.50, according to Oddsshark.

Croatia’s most recent form has been mixed, however. While they managed to scrape a 1-0 win over Mexico, they lost 2-0 to a Peru side which was without its talisman Paolo Guerrero.

Predicting the exact score of the game remains nevertheless a more difficult task. Brazil won this game 3-1 at the 2014 World Cup thanks in no small part to a brace from Neymar. The same score line this weekend is priced at 13.00, although Neymar will miss out on this occasion.

Croatia may have only lost once in their last six games, but their technical class does not look to be on the same level as that of their opponents. For that reason, their best hope for a result may well be to try and secure a draw.

For this game the draw is priced at 3.80, while a score draw is at 5.50 and a goalless draw is priced at 9.50. If you want to give yourself a better chance of winning, however, you can opt for the “Double Chance”.

Brazil or a draw is priced very low at 1.10, while opting for either side to win is at just 1.28. If you decide to be braver and go for a Croatia win or a draw you can more than double your return, with a price at 2.62.

Croatia do have some extremely creative talents in the middle of the park, and the likes of Luka Modric and Ivan Ratikic are more than capable of hurting an ageing Brazilian backline. But the South Americans boast an impressive recent record against the Croatians.

In all competitions, Brazil are unbeaten in three previous meetings with Croatia, and have beaten them twice at the World Cup. In addition to that comfortable 3-1 win four years ago, the seleção won 1-0  at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

One thing you should be confident in this game, however, is goals. Brazil are in fine goal scoring form, having netted 10 in their last five games, and the likes of Willian, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus will be confident of breaching the Croatian defence.

Brazil will be looking to make a statement prior to the World Cup starting in earnest and there is the very real possibility that they could throw the kitchen sink at Croatia. You can back Brazil to win this game by a three-goal margin at 7.00.

And if Brazil win this game by a three-goal margin, then of course there will be over 2.5 goals in the game. You can opt for such an outcome at a price of 1.95, while under 2.5 goals is at 1.85.

Odds: Brazil (1.50), Croatia (7.50), draw (3.80)