Italy v Brazil match preview: Two teams in transition meet for glamour fixture in Geneva

The two sides meet amid uncertainty over their respective credentials

Tonight’s glamour tie in Geneva will evoke memories of Mexico City 1970 and Barcelona 1982 for those of a certain vintage, but the reality is that these two powerhouses of world football are in deep transition. Viewers reminiscing about Carlos Alberto finishing a wonderful team move and performance may expect something a little more fragmented, while Mario Balotelli now fills the Paolo Rossi shaped hole as Italy’s main striker.

The adversaries hold nine World Cup titles between them, but Brazil are now a lowly 18 in the Fifa rankings after failing to impress on the international stage since 2002. The South Americans have failed to produce a team that can compare to that generation, and although they can call on exciting young talent like Neymar and Paulinho, the trio of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho was the last forward-line to truly strike fear into the hearts of opponents.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was reappointed as coach late last year, believes that the advantage is totally with the Europeans. The World Cup winner said: "Italy are way ahead of us in terms of rebuilding their team. My Brazil side have played two games but Prandelli's team are the European Championship runners-up."

Criticism of Italy may seem a little harsh after a commendable performance in last year’s European Championships. A place in the final is more than anybody predicted, and although the tournament did much to regain some national pride after a disastrous World Cup campaign two years earlier, coach Cesare Prandelli still has a big rebuilding job on his hands.

The hero of last summer, Andrea Pirlo, has continued to defy his age by dominating midfields at home and in Europe. His excellent partnership with Claudio Marchisio for club and country is a great weapon for Prandelli, but the former Roma coach knows too well that his maestro won’t go on forever.

The impressive tactician has picked an experimental squad for the meeting this evening, but he made it clear he was not obliged to divulge and details on who he might start, despite the uncompetitive nature of this fixture.

He said: "I have to prepare well for this game without giving any kind of advantage to Brazil. You can infer some of our plans having watched our training session, though. It's a game we want to play to the best of our ability so we can make life difficult for Brazil."

Balotelli, in red-hot form with seven goals in six games since his move to Milan, looks set to start for the Azzuri alongside young prodigy Stephan El Shaarawy, while Kaka and Thiago Silva should lead out a strong Brazil side.

 

Last meeting:

Brazil 2 – 0 Italy (Elano, Robinho) – Emirates Stadium, 10/02/2009

 

Last game:

Italy: D 1 – 1 v Holland (A)

Brazil: L 2-1 v England (A)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living