In yet another attempt to secure their sixth World Cup title, Brazil will kick off their campaign against Serbia and hope to get off to a good start.
The Selecao will be going into their first game with fine form behind them, both as a team and on an individual level. They have won eight out of their last 10 matches, scoring 28 goals and conceding only four.
Their players are also carrying stellar form from their clubs as Neymar has been PSG’s best player this season, while Vinicius Jr has been carrying Real Madrid in the absence of Karim Benzema. Gabriel Jesus, who is likely to start in the middle of their front three, has been instrumental in Arsenal achieving Premier League’s top spot, and so has his teammate, Gabriel Martinelli.
Casemiro has found his form at Manchester United in the midfield, and Bruno Guimaraes has been nothing less than brilliant for Newcastle United this season. They also have Lucas Paqueta and Fabinho in their ranks, meaning Tite can switch things around as per his wish.
Their defence is a bit of a worry as their full-backs are neither in good form nor are their attributes in place to face tricky forwards. Dani Alves has been a serial winner in his stellar career, but at 39 years of age, he has lost his pace and reflex, meaning he is up for a stern test against the Serbs. The case is the same for Danilo and Alex Sandro, who are not in the best moment of their careers.
In the heart of the defence, Thiago Silva is generally a wall, but the 38-year-old might find trouble dealing with tall Serbian forwards in the air.
On the other hand, Serbia are one of the dark horses of the tournament as they have talent all over the pitch. With Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic, they have two in-form strikers in their ranks, and also Ajax skipper Dusan Tadic to feed them with chances, while Luka Jovic can come off the bench to cause trouble.
In the midfield, they have Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Nemandja Gudelj, Marko Grujic, and Filip Kostic to form a formidable unit in the middle.
While their defence lacks a big name, they have quality in the middle to thwart Brazil’s free-flowing attacking play, meaning they can turn things around if they want.
They topped their qualifying group for the World Cup, which included Portugal. They beat the Portuguese 1-0 in the final match of qualifying to reach the World Cup directly.
They are also in great form as they are unbeaten in their last six games, winning five out of them. In those matches, they have scored 18 goals, conceding only five themselves.
In the last World Cup, Brazil beat Serbia 2-0, where Silva was one of the scorers. While Brazil will hope for a similar result at the Lusail Stadium today, the Serbs will be hoping to turn things around.