Brazil vs Honduras: Team News and Tactical Preview
The five-time world champions were dealt a hammer blow when star player Neymar was ruled out of the South American continental championship after an ankle injury against Qatar on Thursday.
Manager Tite controversially decided to replace the talismanic Neymar with Chelsea winger Willian, who has largely been a peripheral figure for the Blues this season.
Pundits and fans were calling for the selection of Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League star Lucas Moura since 18-year-old Real Madrid sensation Vinicius Junior was ruled out due to injury, but Tite has opted for a different approach.
With the exception of Liverpool duo Roberto Firmino and Alisson, Tite had put out his strongest XI for Thursday's 2-0 win over Qatar and he is expected to test his bench strength against Honduras.
Firmino and Alisson are expected to start, while new Real Madrid signing Eder Militao is expected to partner Marquinhos in central defense.
Juventus' Alex Sandro and Corinthians wingback Fagner will come in for regular starters Filipe Luis and Dani Alves respectively, while Coutinho and Richarlison are expected to be retained from the side that faced Qatar.
Understudies Allan and Fernandinho are likely to start in place of Barcelona's Arthur and Real Madrid's Casemiro.
Predicted Brazil XI: Alisson, Fagner, Eder Militao, Marquinhos, Alex Sandro, Allan, Fernandinho, Lucas Paqueta, Philippe Coutinho, Richarlison, Roberto Firmino.
Tite has long stressed the importance of Brazil developing a strategy to break down teams that put 10 men behind the ball and he will get a chance to test his plans against a physically robust and stubborn Honduras side.
Brazil will rely on AC Milan's Paqueta and the in-form Richarlison to break between Los Catrachos lines.
The Selecao is still waiting for Coutinho to find form after a lackluster season with Barcelona. Alex Sandro will look to replicate the fantastic wing play he has shown in the Serie A for Juventus, with Brazil posing a significant aerial threat with Richarlison and Firmino.
Tite is likely to employ his usual 4-3-2-1 system with Paqueta and Allan responsible for transitioning the team quickly from defense to attack.
Firmino and Richarlison's dogged pressing game is designed to force defensive errors which can quickly be capitalized on by the pacy Selecao. With Ajax wonderkid David Neres and Manchester City speedster Gabriel Jesus ready to come off the bench, Brazil still pose a significant threat to any team even without Neymar.
The match is scheduled for 12:30 AM IST tonight. There is no live telecast in India.