Barcelona ace Lionel Messi will clash against club teammate Neymar as Brazil hosts Argentina in the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte tomorrow. The Samba boys will return to Mineirao for the first time since their infamous 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany back in 2014.
Brazil is currently leading the South American qualifier with 21 points from 10 matches, while Argentina is presently sixth in the qualifying group with 16 points from 10 games. Only the top four will qualify for Russia 2018 and the fifth outfit will have to face a play-off. The arch-rivals have met 100 times since the first encounter in 1914 with Brazil winning 40 times compared to Argentina’s 36 while 25 times the rivals had to settle for a draw.
“We must try to earn the points now and beating Brazil would give us the confidence we need. This is a great chance to earn three points and return to the top,” said Argentina manager Edgardo Bauza at a press conference. Bauza will be glad to have Lionel Messi back in action, the Argentine captain returns after missing out on the last three matches due to a muscle injury. Sergio Aguero will be given the task to assist Leo in the attack.
“Of course returning here still touches all of us, even those that didn’t play. But we have to know how to work in all situations. Two years have passed and we are in a different moment,” said Brazil manager Tite at a press conference. Having not played on that dreadful night against Germany, but Neymar will look to find the back of the net this time around.
Brazil Probable XI: Alisson; Alves, Marquinhos, Miranda, Luis; Paulinho, Augusto, Coutinho; Willian, Firmino, Neymar
Argentina Probable XI: Romero; Mercado, Demichelis, Musacchio, Zabaleta; Banega, Mascherano; Messi, Agüero, Higuain, Di Maria