SPORTING ALERT – World Cup qualifiers continue on Thursday with the CONMEBOL battle between Brazil and Argentina among the highlighted clashes on Thursday.
Both teams are dealing with injuries to several key players, but are still blessed with enough talents to field strong lineups.
Argentina, which is off to its worst start in World Cup qualifying ever, will be without captain Lionel Messi, as well as fell strikers Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero for this home game.
The 2014 World Cup runner-ups come into this match with one point from two outings, and will be desperate not to lose at home.
With the trio out, Gerardo Martino will look to the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Correa to lead the attack
Meanwhile, Brazil head on the road with good news, as captain and leading forward Neymar will return to the starting lineup after missing the opening two games because of suspension.
The Barcelona striker has been in great form recently – scoring 10 goals and collecting six assists in his last 7 outings for Barca – and he will be hoping to carry over his fine club form into the international fixtures.
Another Selecao player in rich form coming into this game is Willian, and the Chelsea winger is looking forward to tackling rivals Argentina in what he expects to be a “classic.”
“Playing against Argentina is a classic, we’ll respect them but we’ll try to win,” he said earlier this year.
Brazil defeated Venezuela 3-1 in their last CONMEBOL World Cup qualifier, while Argentina, which dropped its opener against Ecuador, could only manage a 0-0 draw with Paraguay.
According to the stats gurus, Argentina dropped 4 of their last 6 games against Brazil, while drawing the other two.
The experts believe the South America powerhouses will both start this game defensively, especially Martino’s men, who cannot afford to lose again.
In other World Cup qualifying games on the fixture for Thursday, Alexis Sanchez and Copa America champions Chile will meet Colombia in another headlined battle, while Ecuador will take on Uruguay.
Bolivia will meet Venezuela on the day as well.
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers (Times: EST)
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3:00pm: Bolivia vs Venezuela
4:00pm: Ecuador vs Uruguay
6:30pm: Chile vs Colombia
7:00pm: Argentina vs Brazil