Bafana to face star-studded Brazil

12 February 2014

Bafana Bafana will face a star-studded line-up when they take on World Cup hosts Brazil in a friendly international at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 5 March.

Brazil’s 16-man squad, announced on Tuesday, is made up entirely of players with European clubs, but will later be added to with further players from Brazil. Coach Luis Felipe Scolari has indicated that he will add at least two strikers and a goalkeeper to his squad.

Four players from Chelsea were included, namely defender David Luiz and midfielders Willian, Oscar and Ramires.

Dante and Rafinha, who ply their trade with German powerhouse Bayern Munich, also cracked the nod, as did the Barcelona duo of Dani Alves and Neymar.

Goalkeeper

Queens Park Rangers’ Julio Cesar will look after the goalkeeping duties, even though he was not the first-choice at the English League Championship club and has since been loaned out to Toronto FC, who campaign in the USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS).

Scolari said he hoped Julio Cesar would be able play the pre-season with the Canadian club and then play about a dozen matches before the World Cup.

Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain) and Marcelo (Real Madrid) were the other defenders named.

The midfield includes Luis Gustavo (Vfl Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City) and Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur).

Up front, Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg) and Bernard (Shaktar Donetsk) join Neymar.

Omitted

Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho failed to crack the nod, while other notable absentees were AC Milan’s Kaka and Robinho, Inter Milan defender Hernanes, and Roma defender Maicon.

The match against South Africa will be Brazil’s third-last outing before they kick off the World Cup against Croatia on 12 June.

Past matches

Brazil has played Bafana Bafana four times previously, winning all four games, but only by a goal on each occasion.

The teams shared a memorable clash in Johannesburg in 1996, when Brazil were world champions and Bafana the champions of Africa. Incredibly, South Africa led 2-0 at the break after goals from Phil Masinga and Doctor Khumalo.

Brazil pulled one back in the 56th minute through Flavio and 12 minutes later the teams were level at 2-2 thanks to a goal from Rivaldo. Just four minutes from time, Bebeto found a winner for the world champions. In 1997 the teams again met in Johannesburg, with Brazil taking the honours 2-1.

Almost 12 years later the teams clashed in the semi-finals of the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, once more in Johannesburg. A very tight clash was finally settled in the 88th minute when substitute Dani Alves netted for the Brazilians with a stunning free kick.

The most recent meeting between the teams occurred in September 2012 when, in coach Gordon Igesund’s first match in charge of Bafana Bafana, Brazil won 1-0 in Sao Paulo.