Preview: USA vs. Brazil

USA conclude their preparations ahead of hosting the 2024 Copa America when they welcome South American giants Brazil to Camping World Stadium in Florida on Thursday.

The two nations meet for the first time since September 2018 when the Selecao claimed a 2-0 friendly win thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino and Neymar.

Match preview

Gregg Berhalter made a positive start to life in the USA hotseat after taking the reins in August 2023, as his side came out on top in four of his opening five matches, scoring 15 goals in the process.

However, the Stars and Stripes have since suffered three defeats in their last five games across all competitions and were given a stark reality check ahead of hosting the 2024 Copa America, as they suffered a heavy 5-1 friendly defeat to Colombia last weekend.

After going into half time two goals down, Timothy Weah scored his sixth international goal to pull one back for the USA just before the hour mark, but the American floodgates opened in the final 15 minutes as Colombia netted three times to claim a convincing victory at Commanders Field in Maryland.

USA conceded five goals in a single home match for the first time since 2009 and Berhalter has accused his players of ‘lacking respect’ for Colombia, stating that the drubbing is a “wake-up call” rather than a “lesson learned”.

Ranked 11th in the world by FIFA, USA have just one final fixture to make amends before preparing for their opening Copa America group-stage match against Bolivia on June 23, but success on Thursday could prove challenging against a Brazil outfit whom they have failed to beat in their last 11 meetings.

After ending 2023 in disappointing fashion with three straight defeats in 2026 World Cup qualifying, Brazil have since made an unbeaten start to 2024 under new head coach Dorival Junior, who has picked up two wins and one draw from his opening three games in charge.

Since claiming a 1-0 friendly win over England in March and playing out a 3-3 draw with Spain three days later, Brazil left it late to come out on top in a five-goal thriller against Mexico at Kyle Field in Texas last Sunday.

The Selecao threw away a two-goal lead in the final 20 minutes as Yan Couto’s own goal was followed by a 92nd-minute equaliser from Mexico’s Guillermo Martinez. However, Brazil had the last laugh as teenage sensation Endrick came off the substitutes’ bench to head home a 96th-minute winner and seal a 3-2 victory.

The last-minute link-up between Endrick and fellow substitute Vinicius Junior certainly gave Real Madrid supporters a taste of what is to come at club level next season, although Dorival Junior has called for the football world to be ‘very careful’ with their expectations for the former and does not want the 17-year-old to ‘lose his essence’.

Ranked fifth in the world by FIFA, Brazil will endeavour to conclude their Copa America preparations on a high with victory over a USA side whom they have beaten in each of their last seven 90-minute meetings by an aggregate score of 22-5.

Team News

USA boss Berhalter named a starting lineup made up entirely of players based at club level in Europe’s top-five leagues and he is set to select another similarly strong lineup on Thursday, although a few changes are expected.

Celtic’s Cameron Carter-Vickers could be recalled to start in central defence at the expense of either Chris Richards or Tim Ream, while Tyler Adams – who endured a frustrating injury-hit 2023-24 season at Bournemouth – will hope to get some minutes under his belt and could replace Johnny Cardoso in midfield.

Christian Pulisic is just two goals away from moving into fifth on the USA’s all-time top scorer list and is expected to continue on the left, while Ricardo Pepi, Haji Wright and Brendan Aaronson are among the attacker pushing to return to the first XI.

As for Brazil, Real Madrid duo Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are both in contention to earn a recall after returning to the bench last weekend following a short break after Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph.

Andreas Pereira celebrated scoring his first international goal last time out and the Fulham playmaker will be looking to retain his place in midfield, although the likes of Lucas Paqueta, Bruno Guimaraes, and Joao Gomes are in contention to return to the starting lineup.

Centre-back pair Marquinhos and Gabriel Magalhaes are both expected to feature in some capacity after watching on as unused substitutes last time out, while Danilo and Wendell could return at full-back.

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