Brazil might not have been impressive in their initial first six matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, but they got a new lease of life with two back-to-back victories in September. They defeated Ecuador and Colombia, and the self-belief is back in the team, they will also hope to build on that winning momentum as they prepare to face Bolivia on Thursday.
Tite, who replaced Dunga as the new coach of Brazil, should be congratulated for his brilliant start with two straight wins. The team played with freedom and certain flair under Tite, which was missing when Dunga was in-charge.
Brazil has jumped to second position, just a point behind Uruguay. With such great performances, the fans are eagerly waiting for the match , and the tickets have been reportedly sold out for the Bolivia clash.
With players like Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, who have been looking in ominous touch, they will play an important role offensively. The duo will be keen to score goals, and impress coach Tite as much as possible.
However, Tite will not have a full strength squad at his disposal. Defensive midfielder Casemiro is injured, and with Paulinho suspended, the manager has called upon Manchester City's experienced player Fernandinho. Midfielder Giuliano, who will replace Paulinho, wants to prove his skills against Bolivia.
''He (Tite) giving me this opportunity and trusts me to be Paulinho's replacement in this game,'' he told a press conference. I have to do my best. I cannot think ahead, I have to think about this game, which is the opportunity of my life. I can show that I actually have ability to be here, I have the ability to help, I can be an important player in this team,'' ESPN FC quoted Giuliano as saying.
With Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho having impressed for his club and also for Brazil in recent past, the creative midfielder will replace WIllian in the playing XI. However, it remains to be seen if Thiago Silva will start for Brazil.
Irrespective of the players Tite decides to pick in the playing XI, they look a formidable side, and with two impressive wins under their belt, Brazil will go into the match as favourites. Bolivia have a tough task ahead of them. They lie on eighth place with seven points. They, too, come into this match as a confident unit, where they showed great determination to hold Chile 0-0 in their last match.
Another solid display, and who knows, they could spring in a surprise. Bolivia defender Edward Zenteno only wants to concentrate on his own team, and not focus too much on Brazil and their good squad.
'It is a nice game to play, we know the quality of players who Brazil but we also have a large squad and we should only worry about doing things right. We are confident in our ability and although Brazil has important players we only worry about what how we can play," the defender said.
Where to Watch Live
Brazil vs Bolivia is scheduled for a 9:45 pm local time (6:15 am IST, 1:45 am BST, 8:45 pm ET)start.
India: TV: Sony Six. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Brazil: TV: Globo, Spor TV
Bolivia: TV: Bolivia TV
Australia, USA, Canada, Middle East, North Africa: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.