World Cup favourites and one of the most highly fancied dark horses go head to head in their opening match in Qatar with Brazil vs Serbia.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is up and running, with the games producing a variety of emotions. There have been run-of-the-mill results and a few upsets, sprinkled with some stalemates. And the action on Thursday will conclude at the Lusail Stadium, where Brazil and Serbia will face off.
Brazil will enter the FIFA World Cup 2022 with the feeling that Tite has had an entire cycle to mould the squad. And the proof is in the pudding, with the Selecao winning the last seven games while conceding only twice. What's more, they have scored three or more goals in all but one game. So despite the disappointment at Copa America last year, Brazil will be the favourites in Qatar.
On the other hand, Serbia reached the FIFA World Cup 2022 by topping Group A in the UEFA leg of the qualifiers. The Eagles did not lose a single game and dropped points on just two occasions in eight outings. And Dragan Stojkovic's men come into the group stage on the back of a six-match unbeaten run (W5 D1).
Unlike so many nations, Brazil aren't dealing with any major injury problems heading into their first World Cup match.
Bruno Guimaraes and Alex Telles have been dealing with minor issues, but both players are expected to be fit along with the rest of the squad.
The big concern for Serbia is the fitness of Aleksandar Mitrovic with the Fulham striker not having played in almost a month. Given his lack of game time, he may start on the bench despite his sensational scoring record on the international stage.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Vlahovic, Filip Kostic and Dusan Tadic should all start – the quartet playing at the very highest level of European football.
Brazil have a flawless record against Serbia and have won both their previous matches against their European opponents.
The previous meeting between the two teams took place in the group stage in the 2018 World Cup and ended in a comfortable 2-0 victory for Brazil.
Brazil are making their 22nd appearance in the FIFA World Cup and are the only team to have qualified for every edition of the tournament.
Brazil Starting 11 (4-3-3): Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Fred, Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Richarlison, Neymar.
Bench: Ederson, Weverton, Militao, Bremer, Alves, Telles, Fabinho, Guimarães, Everton, Antony, Rodrygo, Martinelli, Vinicius Junior, Pedro, Jesus.
Serbia Starting 11 (3-4-3): V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Lukic, Kostic; S. Milinkovic-Savic, Vlahovic, Tadic.
Bench: Dmitrovic, Rajkovic, Erakovic, Velijkovic, Mladenovic, Ilic, Babic, Duricic, Grujic, Lazovic, Maksimovic, Racic, Radonjic, Jovic, Mitrovic.