England vs Brazil preview, betting tips and prediction: Gabriel Jesus to inspire Selecao in London
England face Brazil in a pre-World Cup friendly on Tuesday night. It will be another chance for Gareth Southgate to take a look at his young squad after the home game against Germany a few days earlier. It will also be the last opportunity until March, so there will definitely be a competitive edge to this game from a Three Lions point of view.
Facing the mighty Brazil at Wembley may appear a glamour tie, but it is a serious test to see how ready England are for the pressurised environment of Russia next summer, just as the Germany game is. At the time of writing, the result of that game is unknown, but after a few years of uncertainty, Tite’s Brazil side are looking a real force. For years, finding a proper striker proved elusive, meaning Neymar has had to carry the majority of the goalscoring burden, despite playing on the wing. But the emergence of Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus appears to have changed the game; since making his international debut in 2016, the 20-year-old has scored six goals in 11 appearances.
We expect Brazil to have too much for England and Jesus is a big reason for that. He’s been a revelation since arriving in the Premier League almost a year ago, that form should continue at Wembley.
When Brazil lost 7-1 at the semi finals of the last World Cup in their own patch in 2014, they had hit rock bottom. The country who adopted and revolutionised football were in real crisis. There wasn’t the regular star quality in the squad, and the system under Luiz Felipe Scolari leaned on the defensive side. But blowing away every team in the South American qualification, winning it by ten points with only one defeat, shows the turnaround perfectly. They were both the top scorers, with 41, and best defence, conceding 11, in a competition which saw Copa America holders Chile fail to qualify and Argentina reach Russia by the skin of their teeth.
England were almost as comfortable in their qualification group, winning it by eight points in the end, but their stats or more importantly performances were not of Brazil’s standard. Nervy, narrow victories over Slovakia, Slovenia and Lithuania provided an underwhelming end to the campaign, and most England fans have very little confidence heading into the World Cup, let alone the game against an impressive Brazil side.
Just how much experimenting Southgate will do remains to be seen obviously, but with these two matches being organised to simulate the quality at the World Cup next summer, you’d expect the best team possible to line up. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have been in great form recently, and with Dele Alli likely to slot in alongside them, they should carry a threat for what has become a very robust Brazilian back line. Joe Hart’s position continues to be under threat from Jack Butland, but it would be a real statement if Southgate was to drop the West Ham man, whom he has previously admitted is his preferred number one.
Neymar has been struggling for fitness at PSG in recent weeks but he shoulf feature along with the man we are tipping to score Jesus. His Man City teammates Ederson and Fernandinho should also feature, alongside PSG pair Thiago Silva and Dani Alves, Juventus full back Alex Sandro and Chelsea’s Willian.