Brazil host England at the newly renovated Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, amid growing criticism of Roy Hodgson's reign. Three experienced former England internationals - Rio Ferdinand, Gary Lineker and Peter Shilton - have all hit out at the national team's form and ability in recent years. And with the 2014 FIFA World Cup now only 12 months away, Hodgson needs to prove he has what it takes to lead the side to glory in Brazil next year.

The South Americans, meanwhile, have some rebuilding to do as well. Luiz Felipe Scolari began his second spell in charge of the national side with a lacklustre 1-2 defeat at Wembley to England in February. Since then, the Brazilians have won only once in four games - a 4-0 defeat of Bolivia. They do have one major advantage over Sunday's visitors though - a considerable pool of extremely talented youngsters, led by Barcelona's latest acquisition - Neymar.


Where to Watch Live

Kick-off is scheduled for 8pm BST. Live coverage is available on ITV 1 and ITV 1 HD. Radio commentary is on BBC Radio 5 live.


Brazil have not played since a 2-2 draw at home to Chile in late April. Neymar scored his country's second goal, assisted by former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at the Mineirao Stadium. However, Eduardo Vargas scored with a superb long-range effort just past the hour mark to earn the draw. The visitors finished with ten men, after Braulio Leal fouled Fernando Meneses in injury time and was shown the red card for his troubles.

Scolari has one major advantage in the build-up to next year's World Cup. As the hosts, Brazil have direct entry, meaning the pressure of going through an ever competitive CONMEBOL qualification group. The downside, though, is that a lack of match practice could hamper the country's preparations.

Fortunately, they have the FIFA Confederations Cup to look forward to and, given that the match is being played in Brazil, Scolari will want an excellent performance from his side... as much to build theirs and his own confidence. A win will also help boost home support of the notoriously critical Brazil supporters.

England, meanwhile, travel to Brazil after a disappointing 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland on 29 May. The match should have been a celebration of Ashley Cole's 100th England cap; he was given the captain's armband as acknowledgement. Unfortunately, it proved to be yet another tepid display from Hodgson's men.

Frank Lampard

The hosts needed veteran Frank Lampard to rescue them once again, after Shane Long put the visitors in front after only 13 minutes. Overall, England's performance was poor and unless there is significant improvement, Neymar's warning about the World Cup next year will come true.

Where can Hodgson begin? Well, Shilton thinks England need to recover their "bulldog" spirit. The former England goalie, who holds the record for most senior caps, explained: "Teams didn't like to play England because they knew they were in for a physical game because we didn't lie down, we never gave in. We seem to have the ability now but lack that bit of killer instinct...we don't look dangerous enough sometimes."

The 63-year-old may have a point. Towards the end of the Ireland game, England did look a bit more dangerous, with Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe managing to create a few problems for the Irish back-line.

Unfortunately for the home fans, a combination of fine goalkeeping from David Forde and the lack of "killer instinct" meant England couldn't convert their dominance into a win. And that inability will trouble them in Brazil next year, particularly against teams as ruthless as the South Americans, Germany and Spain.



  • Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W D D L
  • Last Match: Brazil 2 - 2 Chile


  • Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D D W W L
  • Last Match: England 1 - 1 Republic of Ireland

Team News

Chelsea's David Luiz and Oscar together with QPR's Julio Cesar will probably start, with Scolari hoping to use their Premier League experience. Expect Neymar to start as well and the youngster to give the English defence a difficult night, roared on by home support.

Bayern Munich stars Dante and Luiz Gustavo are available as well and both will be high on confidence, after the Bavarians beat Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund to win the Champions League crown at Wembley last month.

Probable Line-Up: Cesar; Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Paulinho, Fernando; Neymar, Oscar, Lucas Moura; Fred

Hodgson's already difficult period worsened after an injury to Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge against Ireland. Spurs' Defoe came on and was reasonably impressive but the 30-year-old has injury issues himself. Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck has been ruled out as well, meaning the central striker's position is once again a problem.

Further back, there are problems in midfield as well, with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere and United's Tom Cleverley unavailable. Lampard and United veteran Michael Carrick will probably retain their starting places for this game.

Probable Line-Up: Hart; Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka, Cole; Walcott, Lampard, Carrick; Oxlade-Chamberlain; Rooney, Defoe