Friday the 15th of November sees the most anticipated game in world football as the five-time world champions Brazil take on their arch-rivals Argentina.
Fresh from winning the Copa America on home soil, Brazil made their intentions clear in the previous international break, calling a star-studded side to face the Super Eagles of Nigeria and Senegal.
Argentina were also impressive in their last two friendly matches and like their neighbours, La Albiceleste used their full squad against Germany and Ecuador. There’s enough evidence that these two sides have started their preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and they will take every match serious if they are to become world champions again.
Brazil vs Argentina | Friday 15 November | King Saud University Stadium | 19:00
To Win (90 Mins)
Brazil take on Argentina on November 15 at Riyadh’s King Saud University Stadium, before facing South Korea at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi a few days later.
Saudi Arabian fans have every reason to fill up the stadium as both teams are going all out. Liverpool trio Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho are all included in the squad, alongside former teammate Philippe Coutinho – now on loan at Bayern Munich.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus returned to the national team in the last international break for the matches against Nigeria and Senegal after his two-month ban from international football following his controversial dismissal in July’s Copa America final.
Tite’s men were rather disappointing against the African giants were they drew both matches 1-1 but the results won’t concern the South American champions that much as they are clearly trying out new formations and building for the World Cup.
This team includes Real Madrid’s wonderkid Rodrygo, who was rewarded after his outstanding performances in La Liga and UEFA Champions League where he scored a hat-trick and became the youngest player ever to score three goals in one match. Aston Villa’s uncapped midfielder Douglas Ruiz also earned his first national call-up. The other debut call-ups include Real Betis right-back Emerson and Roma goalkeeper Daniel Fuzato.
Since losing the 2014 World Cup final, Argentina haven’t been the same and maybe they have been guilty of using the same team. However, the Albiceleste is still one of the most dangerous and strongest teams in world football and we can never write them off.
Star player Lionel Messi returns from suspension since the Copa America third-place playoff between Argentina and Chile, in which he was sent off. The Barcelona superstar has not featured for his country since.
The last time these sides rubbed shoulders was during the Copa America Semi-Final where Argentina lost the encounter 2-0, courtesy of goals from Premier League stars Gabriel Jesus and Firmino.
That semi-final result was the last time the South Americans tasted defeat. In the last international break, they showed character coming from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw against Germany, then going on to thrash Ecuador 6-1 shows this team has improved and are willing to fight for gold come 2022.
Verdict: Argentina (2/1)
This will definitely be a close game, but I think Argentina want it more as there are a lot of negativities surrounding them and it’s also the last opportunity for the golden generation to deliver. Yes, both teams are preparing for the World Cup hence why they both called strong teams but there’s a lot of experience in the Argentina squad. I suggest taking a chance and backing the Albiceleste at 2/1.
Written by Banele Pikwa