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Friday, 18 January, 2019

Brazil have weapons to win at Wembley

Strikers on a different level

England's Jamie Vardy gets a header in against Germany
1 of 1

ITV, 8pm Tuesday

England shrugged off the absence of several key players to record a creditable 0-0 draw against Germany on Friday but they may find it harder to match Brazil in their last match of 2017.

Brazil have played at Wembley three times since the turn of the century, drawing twice and losing once, but they have arrived in London with a strong squad and look worthy odds-on favourites.

Gareth Southgate will do his best to freshen up the England side but his options are limited by a lack of squad depth.

Marcus Rashford's likely inclusion up front will add some pace, power and unpredictability but the midfield is a major concern.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was rightly praised for his contribution against Germany on his debut but Eric Dier and Jake Livermore had ordinary games as the Three Lions were dominated in the centre of the park.

Germany amassed a 55 per cent share of possession but failed to make the most of it due to a lack of incisiveness in attack.

England defended diligently with John Stones the pick of the back three but they were still reliant on debutant goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who made two outstanding saves in one-on-one situations.

Pickford already looks like England's best bet between the sticks but he is set to make way for Joe Hart, who is Gareth Southgate's stated number one goalkeeper.

Hart has not had an easy start to his season-long loan at West Ham and could be busy against the Brazilians, who will be keen to build on Friday's 3-1 success over Japan in Lille.

The Selecao have had a strong 2017, wrapping up first place in South American World Cup qualifying, finishing ten points above second-placed Uruguay and winning three of their four friendlies.

They effectively won the game against Japan in the first 45 minutes. They raced into a 3-0 half-time lead with a penalty from Neymar and goals from Marcelo and Gabriel Jesus.

In the second period Tite's side rarely got out of first gear and there should be plenty left in the tank for the match at Wembley.

More Tuesday internationals

Ireland v Denmark

Wales v Panama

Russia v Spain

France v Germany

Brazil possess a pair of world-class attacking players in Neymar and Jesus and their midfield, anchored by Real Madrid's Casemiro, looks far superior to England's.

Southgate's side will look to be as compact as possible and aim to counter-attack at speed using the pace of Rashford and wing-backs Kyle Walker and Ryan Bertrand.

However, Brazil have been pretty good at keeping the back door shut and have conceded just four goals in their ten matches this year.

They seem to have progressed a fair amount since the massive disappointment at the 2014 World Cup and are clear second favourites to lift the trophy in Russia next summer.

World champions Germany are still favourites but Brazil can succeed where Joachim Low's side failed by winning at Wembley.

1pt 4-5 general

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Team news
Gary Cahill has recovered from a minor injury but Phil Jones (thigh) and Jack Butland (broken finger) miss out.

Fernandinho may be rested after playing the full match against Japan but Philippe Coutinho is expected to return to the starting line-up.

Key stat
Brazil have lost only one of their last 16 matches.

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Brazil have lost only one of their last 16 matches
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