All eyes are on Neymar, who should be clearly the most prolific goalscorer of the Brazilian men should he make this table. Ney has scored three times in four games against Verde, although all the goals came in his first two games against them in 2013 and 2016.
Bolivia’s hopes rest heavily on their goalkeeper and there is talk among the locals whether Carlos Lampe can continue. The Santa Cruz stopper is now 36 years old, so there are questions about whether it’s time for a refresher.
Interim coach Fernando Diniz is in a curious situation, celebrating success at Fluminense with his free-flowing attacking style after years of bouncing around clubs. He now holds the top job and will be a return to some of the classic coaches in Brazilian history such as Mario Zagallo and Vanderlei Luxemburgo.
Since the announcement of the lineup, Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has replaced Raphin due to injury. Manchester United star Antony has also been removed from the original list following allegations of domestic violence which are currently under investigation. Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus was added to the team in his place. Diniz likes to have lots of players around the ball and constant movement in attack, which means his sides can often look like 4-3-3 and 4-2-4 at different stages of the game.
Bolivia has probably the hardest start of all sides in the qualification, after this match they will face the world champions Argentina in La Paz. There is a feeling that Costas may want to rest some of his better players in this game so that they can put in more effort for the home game. Either way, we can be sure that he will set up a 5-4-1 defense to try to last as long as possible in Belé.
Marcelo Martins has struggled at club level recently, not playing often and without a goal since May. However, Costas will need him to lead the line and his closest support will likely come from a striker who can also defend. Bolivar’s Victor Abrego could be a good fit, while Jaume Cuéllar is another possibility for the role. 19-year-old prospect Miguel Terceros is the most exciting option, but it looks like Costas could use him off the bench to start against Argentina next week.
Brazil predicted lineup: 4-2-4
Ederson-Danilo, Marquinhos, Gabriel Magalhães, Renan Lodi-Casemiro, Bruno Guimarães -Neymar, Raphinha, Rodrygo, Richarlison
Bolivia predicted lineup: 5-4-1
Lampe-Bejarano, Haquin, Jusino, Quinteros, Fernandez-Saucedo, Cespedes, Ursino, Abrego – Martins