Socceroos v Brazil Preview

Some might call the Brazil v Australia as the princes versus the paupers, but if confidence is anything to go by than the Brazilians had better watch out for the paupers from down under.

Some might call the Brazil v Australia as the princes versus the paupers, but if confidence is anything to go by than the Brazilians had better watch out for the paupers from down under.

So far not one Australian player and its coach Guus Hiddink has indicated that it-s prepared to sacrifice this game and a result, to concentrate all its energies on the third match against Croatia, the game that most believe will determine who finishes second in the group.

And why shouldn-t the Australian team feel confident?

They are on the back of a six-game unbeaten streak which includes victories over Uruguay, Bahrain, Greece, Liechtenstein and Japan and an away draw with Holland. Last Monday-s come from behind win over Japan was well deserved, and will have only increased the confidence of the team.

Brazil, while they might be the No.1 team in the world, were hardly convincing in beating Croatia and some that have been following the Brazilians in Germany are not convinced they are anywhere near where they can be.

They have received a fair bit of criticism from the Brazilian media, but the fact remains that they still managed to beat the team that most rated as the second best in the group, which makes Australia-s task a mammoth one.

As we know, Brazil is a team that is stacked with world-class players led by World Footballer of the Year Ronaldinho. The Barcelona whiz is without a doubt the best player in the world and his skills on the ball are not matched by any player. He is well supported by Kaka, Adriano and Ronaldo, although the latter bore the brunt of most criticism for his lacklustre performance against the Croatians.

Brazil coach Carlos Parreira has said he will stick by Ronaldo, but if he doesn-t he has the likes of Robinho and Fred on the bench that are world class players in their own right.

Kaka, Brazil-s best player against Croatia, scored the decisive goal against the Europeans with a tremendous strike and is one player that the likes of Vince Grella will have to watch closely. Grella has faced the AC Milan playmaker on many occasions and this experience will be vital in trying to curtail his influence.

Croatia showed that by putting pressure on the ball quickly and getting physical, you can cause Brazil problems, which are two things that Hiddink has worked hard on in training since they went into camp. As Australia showed in the match against Japan, they are in good physical shape and will no doubt run the game out till the end.

Given the attacking options that Brazil possess it-s highly likely that Hiddink will revert to a back four formation, trying to nullify the width that Ronaldinho and Kaka give Brazil. Brett Emerton and Scott Chipperfield are the likely options to join Lucas Neill and Craig Moore in defence, while Grella and either Luke Wilkshire or Jason Culina will join him in a screening role. Josip Skoko-s experience might also be utilised in this role and might allow Culina to push forward in a more advanced role.

In midfield, the calls for Tim Cahill-s inclusion, following his two-goal haul against Japan, have gained strength as we have got closer to kick-off and Hiddink may not be able to resist. The player that may make way is Harry Kewell, who despite playing 90 minutes against Japan, is still not considered totally match-fit by Hiddink.

Mark Viduka is again likely to play the lone role up front and if he can reproduce his first half performance against the Brazil defence, he will be a handful for Lucio and Juan. This just might be the game that Viduka really signals his international credibility, which till now has come under scrutiny because of his poor goal scoring record for Australia. However his value to the team is much more than that and since taking on the captaincy he has matured as a player and his work rate has increased immensely.

There is no doubt however that Australia-s players will have to raise their game another notch if they are to get a result. They will have to be very disciplined and in particular not give away free kicks in range around the box, as the Brazilians have plenty of options including Roberto Carlos, considered one of the best free kick exponents in the world today.

At stake is top of the group and one foot in the door for the second round. Don-t expect Australia to lie down and let Brazil dictate and they will give as good as they get. The Australian team is ready to show the world they belong on this stage and there is no better team to prove this against then the best team in the world.