International Friendly Preview: Brazil - Zambia

October 14, 2013
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Brazil will be gunning for a fourth straight victory when it goes head-to-head with managerless Zambia in Beijing on Tuesday.

The 2014 World Cup host's most recent success came in a 2-0 victory over South Korea in Seoul on Saturday, as a sublime Neymar free kick and a strike from Oscar ensured a comfortable triumph.

That victory arrived following consecutive victories over Australia and Portugal in September and means Brazil heads into the fixture at the Beijing National Stadium in high spirits.

The five-time world champion will be without goalkeeper Julio Cesar (finger), defender Thiago Silva (thigh) and striker Fred (thigh) against the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champion.

Consequently, Scolari may decide to give the likes of Alexandre Pato, Ramires and Hernanes an opportunity to stake a claim for a regular starting place, with all three players having been named among the substitutes against South Korea.

Brazil appears to be hitting form at the right time ahead of next year's showpiece, having lost just twice in 2013, against England and Switzerland, while the team also won the Confederations Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 final victory over world champion Spain in June.

Zambia, meanwhile, heads into the game without a permanent head coach after Herve Renard ended his time in charge of the nation to take over at French club Sochaux last week.

Renard failed to take the country past the pool stages in World Cup qualifying, as it finished second behind Ghana in Group D.

Zambia's fate was sealed after it lost a final-game showdown with the Black Stars 2-1 in September.

Renard's former assistant Patrice Beaumelle has taken the reins on a temporary basis and will be in the dugout for the Brazil fixture.

FC Utrecht forward Jacob Mulenga is likely to lead the line for Zambia, and could provide the biggest threat to a Brazil defense missing the leadership of captain Thiago Silva.

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