The Brazilian squad arrived in Tangier, Morocco, Monday (Mar.20). The prestigious Seleção will play a friendly match on Saturday (Mar. 25) against the Atlas Lions who finished 4th in the last world cup, an historic feat for an African team.
It will be the third face-off for the two teams, 25 years after they last played each other.
The squads will clash in a packed Ibn Batouta stadium.
The two selections have opposite momentums. If Morocco lived a legendary World Cup odyssey, Brazil exited the tournament in the quarterfinals after a shootout session.
Brazilians will present themselves with a renewed squad.
In the absence of the dribbles of the injured Neymar, the Moroccan fans will be able to admire Antony’s trademark spin skill.
A new project
Andre, a Fluminense midfielder is one of the newly called in the team. “It’s the beginning of a new project”, he told a press conference.
“Several new players that will give their lives, especially because it’s the beginning (of a cycle). [They will be eager] to work to leave a good impression. No matter who comes here, all Brazilian players have a European level. About the World Cup, what happened is now in the past,” he added.
Interim coach Ramon Menezes, will do his best to field a competitive team at the Ibn Batouta Stadium.
He’ll face Morocco’s Walid Regragui. The tactician should be rather confident since only four of the world cup heroes will miss the game; namely: Badr Benoun, Selim Amallah, Ilias Chair and Yahya Jabrane.
The remaining first-team players will be on the pitch, eager for an expansive reunion with their public.
This is only the third time in history that the two teams have faced each other after a first match in 1997 and a second one a year later during the World Cup in France.
Each time, the Auriverde won against the band of Mustapha Hadji. 2-0 in Belém, Brazil, in October 1997, with a late double from Denilson, and then 3-0 in Nantes, France, in the World Cup group match with goals from Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Bebeto.
After the suspension of Zimbabwe by FIFA, the Lions will face only two teams for the 2023 AFCON qualifiers. Next Tuesday (Mar. 28) in Madrid, Spain, they’ll play another friendly agaisnt a South American team: Peru.