International Friendlies: Brazil too good for Croatia

Brazilian Paulinho
Paulinho of Barcelona is an important player for Brazil these days.
Join today View market

Jamie Pacheco looks at the best friendlies from Sunday's action, including a sexy tie at Anfield between red-hot Brazil and Croatia...

"If this has all the makings of a low-scoring Brazil win, then that’s just what we might get here. They’re a stronger side than Croatia and won’t necessarily be desperate to hand out a thrashing; rather they just want to win and keep up the momentum."

Mexico v Scotland
Sunday June 3, 01:00 BST

A tall order for Scotland

As ever with Scotland, the current squad has one or two really good players, with Liverpool's Andrew Robertson probably the pick of them, and a few too many who with all due respect, just don't cut it at international level.

Obviously, they have a smallish pool of talent at their disposal but there's clearly a problem going on at the moment and there doesn't seem to be a quick fix for it.

The last thing you need when that's the case and you're tired after a long season is to have to play a good, solid, strong side that's off to the World Cup...at high altitude. But that's the task ahead of them and not one many teams will be envious of.

Mexico have been good in defence, conceding just the one goal in their last five friendlies and it was against Croatia, so no disgrace there. They won three of them, lost that one 1-0 to the Croats and drew another 0-0 so they're in decent nick. Scotland on the other hand lost three of their last four friendlies to nil and all things considered - very much including the altitude factor - it would be no surprise if the hosts won this one to nil, too.

Brazil v Croatia
Sunday June 3, 15:00

Brazil to keep up winning habit at Anfield

The tournament favourites (they shouldn't be) are up against a Croatian side who will be a tough nut for anyone to crack in Russia this summer.

When I say that Brazil shouldn't be favourites, that's no reflection on the quality of their squad or their results over the past couple of years. Both are excellent. It's rather a reflection of their inability to get over the line at the business end of the biggest tournaments for the last decade and a half. But back to the game.

This will be played at Anfield so both Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho should feel at home here. Even Paulinho will have played there a few times during his spell at Tottenham. Neymar? He's still recovering from his injury and is far from being match fit so 15 minutes at the end is probably as much as you'd expect him to get here.

Brazil have been strong at the back and that will be far more valuable to them in a month's time than their ability to score three or four against weaker teams. Remarkably they've conceded just twice in their last eight and that included playing England, Germany, Colombia and Chile.

If this has all the makings of a low-scoring Brazil win, then that's just what we might get here. They're a stronger side than Croatia and won't necessarily be desperate to hand out a thrashing; rather they just want to win and keep up the momentum. Croatia for their part don't concede too many against anyone so with 1-0 or 2-0 looking pretty lively runners, you can cover the pair of them by going with a Brazil win where they score 1 or 2 goals in the match at 23/10.

Spain v Switzerland
Sunday June 3, 21:00

Spain to give Swiss a wake-up call

Jack Lang thinks Spain will go far this summer. He's not the only one. They have the perfect blend of youth and experience to mount a real challenge. You can add good game management, international pedigree and a fantastic deep squad to their list of qualities.

Switzerland are a richer version of Scotland. A few class acts (classier than what the Scots have) and a few who might be vulnerable at the highest level.

Since qualifying for the World Cup thanks to that dodgy penalty in Northern Ireland they really haven't played anyone decent. In fact, bar a 2-0 defeat to Portugal it's been a while since they played anyone who dines at world football's top table whether in qualifying games or friendlies.

This match could be a big wake-up call for them. And it could be a thrashing. If Spain can beat Argentina 6-1, just think what they can do to someone like this lot.

They've scored three or more goals in four of their last seven games. It might just become five from eight.

Join today View market

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles