International Friendly Preview: South Africa v Brazil
By Football News
FIFA World Cup hosts Brazil continue their preparation for the competition against South Africa in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's men have three friendlies remaining before they bid to succeed where the country's 1950 vintage failed - by lifting the World Cup on home soil.
Due to the fact they are staging this year's showpiece and therefore did not have to qualify, Brazil have not played a competitive fixture since beating reigning world champions Spain in the final of last year's FIFA Confederations Cup.
The five-time World Cup winners have been in superb form recently, though, having won their last six friendlies.
However, they will face a tricky test in South Africa, as the 2010 World Cup hosts have lost just one of their last six matches and defeated Spain 1-0 at Soccer City back in November.
Brazil's next three opponents have been carefully selected in an attempt to mirror the opponents they will face in their World Cup group, with their trip to Johannesburg followed by games with Panama and Serbia.
The Selecao begin their campaign for a sixth world crown against Croatia on June 12, and will also face Mexico and Cameroon in Group A, with Scolari - who led Brazil to success at the 2002 World Cup - describing the South Africa trip an "important test".
For South Africa, the friendly represents an ideal chance to put their disappointing World Cup qualification and CAF African Nations Championship campaigns behind them by claiming another huge scalp on home turf.
"It is not every day that one gets to play against five-time world champions," coach Gordon Igesund told the South Africa Football Association website.
"This is a great opportunity for us to continue from where we left off against Spain last year. We played Brazil in Sao Paolo and narrowly lost 1-0 (in September 2012).
"They are the hosts of the 2014 World Cup, so they will definitely be taking this match seriously as you can see from the squad they have selected.
"I also have a lot of confidence in the squad I have selected and I believe we will be very competitive on the night. This should be a very good challenge for the players."
Bernard Parker will likely pose a strong threat for the hosts, having scored five goals in his last four international appearances, including the winner against Spain, while Brazil have added three domestic-based players to their travelling party.
Joining the likes of stars Neymar, Hulk, Oscar and David Luiz in Scolari's squad are strikers Fred and Jo, as well as goalkeeper Jefferson.