Preview: Morocco vs. Brazil

Preview: Morocco vs. Brazil

Three months after reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup, Morocco host international powerhouse Brazil in a friendly on Saturday evening.

This will be Brazil’s first outing since the departure of Tite back in December, with interim manager Ramon Menezes tasked with taking down the Atlas Lions.

Heading into the World Cup as outsiders, Morocco were not expected to ruffle too many feathers in Qatar, as they found themselves alongside Belgium, Croatia and Canada in what appeared to be a tricky group.

However, Walid Regragui’s men ended up making light work of their opponents, drawing with Croatia before beating Belgium and Canada to secure top spot in Group F.

Many believed that Morocco’s World Cup journey would end against Spain in the last 16, but the African underdogs defeated the European heavyweights on penalties before booking their place in the last four with a 1-0 victory over Portugal.

The Atlas Lions were eventually knocked out by France in the semi-finals before losing to Croatia in the third-placed playoff, but they exited the tournament with their heads held high.

Morocco were due to compete in the African Nations Championship in January but withdrew due to travel complications, so the players will be eager to return to international duty after enjoying a fairytale run in Qatar.

Having avoided defeat in 12 of their last 14 matches across all competitions – picking up eight wins along the way – Morocco look set to give Brazil a run for their money in Tangier.

By contrast, Brazil’s World Cup campaign ended in disappointment once again, as the South American giants bowed out at the quarter-final stage for a fourth time in five attempts.

After topping Group G – finishing ahead of Switzerland, Cameroon and Serbia – Brazil thrashed South Korea 4-1 in the last 16, but their journey ended with a penalty-shootout defeat to Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Despite having lost just six of his 81 matches in charge of Selecao, manager Tite parted ways with the national team following the disappointment in Qatar, leaving Ramon Menezes to take the reins on an interim basis.

Menezes inherits one of the strongest teams in international football, as Brazil have lost just one of their previous 20 games inside 90 minutes, but there is a sense that major changes are needed for the five-time World Cup winners to compete at the highest level once again.

Morocco friendly form:
Morocco form (all competitions):
Brazil friendly form:
Brazil form (all competitions):

We say: Morocco 2-2 Brazil
Buoyed by their achievements at the World Cup, Morocco will fancy their chances of frustrating Brazil in front of a passionate home crowd in Tangier.

Given Brazil’s strength in depth, it will be difficult for the hosts to claim a famous win over Selecao, but the Atlas Lions have more than enough talent – and spirit – to earn a draw.

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