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Preview: Brazil vs. Panama - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's international friendly between Brazil and Panama.

Brazil head into their international friendly with Panama having put together a six-match winning streak since their defeat to Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Panama have made the trip to Portugal having suffered five defeats in half-a-dozen fixtures played over the same period.


Brazil manager Tite on June 3, 2018© Reuters

Brazil were hugely disappointed to have been eliminated by Belgium in the last eight of the World Cup, but Tite's side have responded to that setback in the best possible way.

Half-a-dozen victories have been recorded without conceding a goal, and it is a run of wins which has included narrow successes over Argentina and Uruguay.

Both triumphs came as a result of strikes in the final 15 minutes - a common trait during their time in Russia last summer - but Tite will want to see his players provide more of a ruthless streak in front of goal.

Brazil have scored just five goals in their last four outings, and the only time that they have netted more than twice in a match came when netting five past El Salvador in September.

There is no doubting that Brazil remain favourites for the Copa America later this year, but there is a demand that the Selecao players begin to replicate the form which they are producing for their clubs.

Neymar remains absent for the five-time World Cup winners, but Tite will be keen for his side to become less reliant on their star man after their relative struggles at the World Cup.

Brazil's ageing backline was a talking point last year, but Tite may take the opportunity to hand just a second national team appearance to Eder Militao with the game being staged at the home of his club Porto.

Attacking talent will always be produced out of Brazil, but finding a home for Militao alongside Marquinhos in the centre of defence could be Tite's most important decision going forward.

Recent form: WWWWWW


The Panama team lines up ahead of their World Cup warm-up game with Northern Ireland in May 2018© Reuters

Panama made history last summer after qualifying for the World Cup for the first time, but Los Canaleros have not been able to build on their time among the elite in Russia.

Just one draw has been recorded in six friendly fixtures, meaning that Panama are now winless in their last 11 outings in all competitions.

That form has resulted in a change in the dugout with Julio Dely Valdes returning for his third spell in the dugout, and the new boss has a huge task on his hands to develop the next crop of players.

Many of the team who represented Panama at the World Cup are now not present in the squad, and only a handful of the current group of players are in double figures when it comes to outings for their country.

The lack of experience is not ideal ahead of a showdown with Brazil, but Valdes can at least see how his players are able to adapt to facing one of the best teams in world football.

The main plus for Panama is that they were last in action as recently as January, but a 3-0 defeat was suffered against United States in Arizona.

That fixture was a learning curve for many of the squad with as many as nine debuts coming during that game, and Valdes will want to see progress made this weekend in what is a much sterner test.

Recent form: LLDLLL

Team News

Richarlison in action for Brazil on November 20, 2018© Reuters

Tite has opted to rest a number of the squad who featured in their last game against Cameroon, and a number of his less-experienced players could be used at the weekend.

Everton's Richarlison may be granted a start in attack, while West Ham United winger Felipe Anderson could be given a second cap for his country.

Liverpool's Fabinho and Barcelona's Arthur could both feature in midfield, with Alex Telles potentially in line for a debut at left-back.

Valdes will likely insist on using his most experienced players from the start, meaning that Fidel Escobar, Armando Cooper, Abdiel Arroyo and Ricardo Buitrago should all feature in the first XI.

Brazil possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Fagner, Militao, Miranda, Telles; Fabinho, Arthur, Coutinho; Richarlison, Firmino, Anderson

Panama possible starting lineup:
Roberts; Palacios, I.Anderson, Escobar, Benitez; Browne, Cooper, Walker, Botello, Buitrago; Arroyo

Head To Head

Saturday's encounter will represent just the sixth time that these two nations have met on the international scene, with Brazil emerging victorious in each of those contests without conceding a goal.

The first match came in the Panamerican Championship in 1952, and it remains the only competitive fixture between the teams.

Two games have been staged over the past five years, with Brazil registering a 4-0 success in Goiania and a 2-0 triumph in Colorado.

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We say: Brazil 4-0 Panama

Brazil have struggled for goals in their recent outings, but we do not think that will be the case on Saturday. Panama have not kept a clean sheet for almost a year, and that run is likely to continue at the home of Porto.

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Brazil's Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring their first goal in the match against Switzerland on June 17, 2018
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