International Friendly Betting: England no pushovers against Brazil


The Premier League season may be over, but there's one last game to look forward to before the players head off to the beach. And what a game it is too. Brazil host the Three Lions looking to gear up their own preparations for the Confederations Cup, which begins in a fortnight. Could we witness another classic?

Team news

Luiz Felipe Scolari has had to deal with some frustrating club-vs-country issues this week. Bernard, Réver, Jean, Fred and Diego Cavalieri were all in Copa Libertadores action in midweek, so are unlikely to start at the Maracana. Luiz Gustavo and Dante were finally released by Bayern after a Mexican stand-off, but are also likely to miss out on the starting XI.

For England, Roy Hodgson is likely to name a side similar to that which started against the Republic of Ireland. One man to miss out will be Daniel Sturridge, who limped off in that game; Jermain Defoe could come in to replace him.

Form

Neither side is in particularly good shape coming into this game. Brazil have only won once in their last five games - a stroll against Bolivia in April. The seleção were outplayed by Italy and Russia in their last bout of friendlies, and have plenty to do ahead of 2014. England have played out consecutive 1-1 draws, failing to beat Montenegro before last week's Ireland match. Another draw here is available at 3.95.

Head-to-head

Brazil were England's opponents at Wembley earlier this year when the FA celebrated its anniversary. The Three Lions ran out 2-1 winners that day, Frank Lampard hitting the winner. You can back a repeat of that scoreline at 18.00.

Goalscorer betting

Barcelona-bound Neymar is the favourite to score first at 5.00, but better value can be found elsewhere. Lucas (2.90 anytime) is on course for a start, while midfielder Paulinho (19.00 to open the scoring) has an eye for goal. For England, wingers Theo Walcott (7.50 anytime) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (9.00) will hope to emulate John Barnes' famous goal at the Maracana.

Verdict

The recent form of both sides suggests that this will be a fairly even match. The draw is backable, while both teams to score (1.78) is also worthy of consideration. With the home crowd behind them, expect Brazil to start strongly before England battle back. Brazil/Draw HT/FT is available at a tempting 17.00.

Score prediction: Brazil 1-1 England (7.75)