Tournament favourites Brazil get their World Cup underway this evening as they face Serbia in the final match of the first round of group-stage fixtures. Argentina and Germany have already been on the receiving end of huge upsets and while defeat against Serbia would not be as big a shock, Brazil will be wary of taking anything lightly.
It’s now 20 years since Brazil last won the World Cup, but expectation is high in Qatar as they come into the tournament having lost just once in 28 matches since the start of 2020. Neymar, the star of the show as ever, is only three goals away from Pele’s all-time goalscoring record for the country.
As for Serbia, they will be hoping Aleksandar Mitrovic is fit and available, with the Fulham striker and Dusan Vlahovic certainly capable of causing that Brazilian defence problems. Follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below!
Inside the dressing room!
Evening Standard prediction
Brazil have been so good at grinding out results of late, it would be foolish to bet against them, although Serbia have more than enough quality to hurt teams.
A number of favourites have already slipped up this tournament, but Brazil should be good enough to get the job done.
Brazil to win 2-1.
Serbia team news
It appears that Aleksandar Mitrovic, who has endured an injury-hit couple of months at Fulham, will be fit to begin the tournament for Serbia.
The striker may not be required from the start, though, with Dusan Vlahovic likely leading the line alongside Luka Jovic.
Dragan Stojkovic picked a 4-3-3 formation for the win over Bahrain last week, but has favoured a 3-5-2 in recent months.
The Serbia manager has plenty of versatile midfield options with which to play, with both Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic likely starters and able to operate in a variety of roles.
Predicted Serbia XI (3-4-1-2): V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Milinkovic-Savic, Tadic; Kostic; Vlahovic, Tadic.
Brazil team news
Bruno Guimaraes and Alex Telles were both slight injury concerns as Brazil trained in Turin prior to their departure, although both are expected to be fit.
Reports from Brazil training this week hinted that Vinicius Jr was in contention for a start, though it is likely that Tite feels he needs two more defensive midfielders to balance the side in Manchester United pair Fred and Casemiro.
Such has been his form for Brazil of late, Richarlison is tipped to start ahead of Gabriel Jesus up front. Chelsea’s Thiago Silva has been named captain.
Predicted Brazil XI (4-2-3-1): Alisson; Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro; Fred, Casemiro; Neymar, Paqueta, Raphinha; Richarlison.
How to watch Brazil vs Serbia
TV channel: The game will be broadcast live free-to-air on BBC One, with coverage starting at 6.30pm.
Live stream: The BBC iPlayer will offer a free live stream, as will the BBC Sport website.
LIVE coverage: Follow all the action LIVE with us right here, with Malik Ouzia at the ground providing expert analysis.
Hello and welcome to Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of Brazil vs Serbia!
The tournament favourites get their World Cup campaign underway, looking to avoid following the likes of Argentina and Germany in suffering opening defeats.
It’s 20 years since Brazil last won the tournamet – the road to ending that run starts here.
We’ll have all the latest updates and build-up ahead of kick-off, which comes at 7pm GMT from the Lusail Iconic Stadium.