brazil take on Serbia in their World Cup opener today, with manager Tite facing a number of tough decisions throughout the Selecao side.
Perhaps the manager’s toughest selection call will come in his forward line; Richarlison started Brazil’s warm-up win against Tunisia at center forward and could once again push Gabriel Jesus into a leading role, while two goals for Raphinha in this match could be enough to secure a starting spot.
Reports from Brazil training this week suggested that Vinicius Jr. was in contention to start, although it is likely that Tite feels he needs two more defensive midfielders to balance the side in Manchester United duo Fred and Casemiro.
Chelsea’s Thiago Silva will captain the team and rebuild his defensive partnership with Marquinhos after a long spell at Paris Saint-Germain.
Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has been out injured for a few months at Fulham, looks set to be fit to start the tournament for Serbia.
However, the striker may not be required from the start, Dušan Vlahovič is likely to lead the line alongside Luka Jovic.
Dragan Stojkovic chose a 4-3-3 formation for the win over Bahrain last week, but has preferred a 3-5-2 in recent months.
The Serbian manager has plenty of versatile options in midfield to play with, with Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic both likely to start and able to operate in different roles.
Predicted Brazil XI (4-2-3-1):
Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro; Casemiro; Neymar, Paqueta, Raphinha; Richarlison, Vinicius jr.
Predicted Serbia XI (3-4-1-2):
V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic; Kostic; Vlahovic, Tadic.