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International Friendly Preview: Brazil - Australia

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International Friendly Preview: Brazil - Australia
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International Friendly Preview: Brazil - Australia

Brazil has been weakened by injuries but, the Selecao's depth should still provide an ample challenge for Australia when the two clash on Saturday in Brasilia.

Fullback Dani Alves (knee) and striker Hulk (thigh) have been ruled out of the clash, while the Socceroos are missing a standout of their own in star New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill (ankle).

The hosts and Confederations Cup holders are also preparing for a friendly against Portugal in Foxboro, Mass., on Tuesday and may start with a more experimental lineup against Australia - although they are still likely to control proceedings from the off.

Scolari's men have only lost twice this year – including a 1-0 defeat against Switzerland last time out – as they prepare for the World Cup.

Barcelona star Neymar is fit to lead the attack for Felipao's men, while Alves' absence means Maicon may start at right back with David Luiz and Thiago Silva to command the back four.

Even if some of their bigger names are rested with an eye to the Portugal clash, Brazil is likely to send Saturday's opponents a warning about what to expect from a top side at the World Cup.

Australia has friendlies against Brazil and France as their next two clashes in what is an ideal buildup to the 2014 finals. Australia coach Holger Osieck will learn plenty about where his team sits and has named close to a full-strength squad for the encounter in Brasilia.

The Socceroos defense will be tested by a star-studded Brazil side, so Osieck is likely to start his preferred back four in Luke Wilkshire, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski and Matt McKay. With Cahill injured, Josh Kennedy is likely to get a start up front, while Central Coast striker Mitchell Duke, who impressed at the East Asian Cup, may also get an opportunity.

Under the Osieck, the Socceroos have shown they are capable of sitting back and getting results, highlighted by their 1-1 draw in Japan in a qualifier in June. They have cemented their place at the World Cup already by virtue of clinching a top-four place in Asian qualifying.

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