The football world is buzzing with anticipation as one of the exciting CONMEBOL 2026 World Cup qualifiers approaches. Five-time world champions Brazil welcome Venezuela to the Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba.
Brazil are seeking their third straight win at the tournament, while Venezuela are looking to pull off a stunning upset by securing back-to-back World Cup qualifications for the first time since 2009. In this match preview, we dive into the team dynamics, players to watch and the historical context of this encounter.
Brazil, the powerhouse of South American football, are in great form entering this crucial qualifier. Under interim head coach Fernando Diniz, who also manages Fluminense, Brazil won their first two matches last month. They started with a comfortable 5-1 win over Bolivia, a game where Rodrygo and Neymar scored twice. The team spirit and ability to score goals was on full display. They followed up that win with a narrow 1-0 success against Peru thanks to a 90th-minute header from Marquinhos.
What is truly remarkable is that Brazil have never lost a World Cup qualifier on home soil. Their perfect home record stretches back to 15 games since September 2016. They have scored an impressive 46 goals and conceded just three during that run. This dominance cemented their reputation as an indomitable force in South American football.
On the other hand, Venezuela showed flashes of promise under their head coach Fernando Batista. Batista took charge in March and won four of his first six games in all competitions. While they failed to follow up their 1-0 friendly wins over Honduras and Guatemala with a victory against Colombia in their opening World Cup qualifier, they quickly bounced back with a 1-0 success over Paraguay.
A defining moment in their recent campaign came when they appeared to be struggling to secure a draw against Paraguay, a team known for their problems in front of goal. However, a 90th-minute penalty, awarded after a VAR review, allowed Salomon Rondon to score his 40th international goal to secure all three points for Venezuela.
Historically, Venezuela is the underdog in this encounter. They have only beaten Brazil once in their history, a 2-0 friendly triumph in Boston in June 2008. The odds are stacked against them, but in football, surprises can happen when you least expect them.
Brazil Predicted Lineup:
Ederson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Gabriel, Arana; Guimaraes, Casemiro; Rodrygo, Neymar, Vinicius Jr; Jesus
Venezuela Predicted Lineup:
Romo; Gonzalez, Osorio, Angel, Navarro; Sosa, Rincon, Herrera, Soteldo; Josef Martinez, Rondon