DOHA: Brazil coach Tite is expected to rotate his World Cup squad for their final Group G match against Cameroon on Friday (Dec 2), with a view to keeping some players fresh for a likely last-16 match on Monday if they finish top of their group.
With their ticket already booked for the knockout stages after two wins, Brazil can rest players and wait for the return of others including Neymar, Alex Sandro and Danilo from injury.
Juventus left back Alex Sandro suffered a hip injury in Brazil’s 1-0 win over Switzerland, while Paris St-Germain forward Neymar and Juventus right back Danilo picked up ankle injuries in the opening 2-0 win over Serbia. Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar has given no specific timetable for their return.
Several Brazil players were also ill on Sunday, including midfielder Lucas Paqueta who missed Saturday’s training session and was used as a substitute in the game against Switzerland.
According to Brazilian television station Globo, Tite has already told the squad that he plans to give some players their first start at a World Cup match when they meet the African side.
Cameroon still have a chance of qualifying.
But Brazil are World Cup favourites for a reason, and have a bench packed with players like Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, Manchester United winger Antony, Arsenal’s attacking duo Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli, Newcastle United Bruno Guimaraes and Liverpool’s Fabinho.
Cameroon will face Brazil without their goalkeeper Andre Onana, who has been dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons.
Brazil will top their group if they draw or win. If they lose and Switzerland win against Serbia, top spot will be decided by goal difference.
The Swiss are second on three points, two ahead of Serbia and Cameroon who have one point apiece. Both need to win to have any chance of progressing in second place, which would be decided by goal difference.