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)

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm that there was a 'minor disturbance'

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album