Preview: Brazil v Australia

Brazil and Australia meet for the first time ever in World Cup Finals and despite both being first up winners the fall out of their respective victories couldn’t be more different.

    Jostling for position: Robinho (l) and Ronaldo (r)

    Australia has gone football crazy after three goals in the last eight minutes against Japan had fans singing the praises of the team and their coach, Guus Hiddink, despite a fairly tepid display for the first 80 minutes of the game.

    Meanwhile Brazil have been blasted by fans at home after their less than confident start in a narrow 1-0 win over Croatia.

    Plenty of people have been keen to death ride the South Americans and Socceroos captain Mark Viduka was happy to get in on the act.

    "The game against Croatia showed that they are vulnerable in places," Viduka told reporters at team training.

    Mark Viduka: Flying the flag

    "I thought Croatia should have got something out of that game, I thought they were the better team."

    The Australian public are also now starting to dream the dream with many live sites around the country geared up for thousand of fans ready to brave the colder weather and the 2am start.

    A nation that revels in the underdog status, the Australians can also take heart that they've beaten Brazil 1-0 in the 2001 Confederations Cup in Korea and had a scoreless draw with them in the 1997 Confederations Cup in Riyadh, admittedly a week before being destroyed 6-0 by the South Americans in the final.


    Wary of the Brazilians being stung into action, Blackburn defender Lucas Neill explained that the big game was no time for stage fright.

    "They're a team that can easily start to cook and we just have to make sure that they don't boil against us, they didn't really turn on the same style the other night, so we've got to fear the  backlash," said the defender from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

    "We've got the attitude that we're not going to let that happen."

    Despite the doubters Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was confident his side would have a better performance.

    "It is important to start by winning. It means we will be more relaxed and the performance will be as well (against Australia), and technically we will be better," he said.

    He then was the 5,000th coach in history to claim to believe adversity was a positive thing.

    "Favourites or not favourites, the great virtue of Brazilian football is to grow in adversity."

    Possible changes

    Australian coach Guus Hiddink has hinted at possible changes to his side due to four players carrying yellow cards into the match.

    Midfielders Tim Cahill and Vince Grella as well as striker John Aloisi and former captain Craig Moore all face the possibility of being left out of the dream fixture as the Dutch man looks to keep some of his powder dry for the final group match against Croatia, which many believe will decide the final qualifying spot in the group.

    "I have my concern with the yellow cards, it's a big concern for the next game because two tough games, two world-class teams, not  just Brazil, but Croatia, so it makes a huge problem for me,"  Hiddink said after training.

    His counterpart Parreira has stated that there is no chance of diet debate starting striker Ronaldo won’t play despite going to hospital following his side’s opening victory.

    Self belief

    While few neutrals give the Socceroos much hope, the side is in no mood to roll over.

    Guess who?

    "Obviously, there is a little bit of respect because they are world champions, but you just go out there and you play to what  you're capable of playing," said Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell.

    When quizzed on what the Brazilians thought of his side, he replied: "To be honest with you, I couldn't really care.
    "A lot of other people don't really care too much about us, so why would they think any different?"

    The Australians have nothing to lose and should the Brazilian team give them a sniff of victory a huge boilover might just be on the cards, however if the Oceania representatives are not on their game the scoreline might resemble something from another Australian sporting passion, cricket.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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