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Brazil vs Serbia predictions: Tournament favourites face testing opener
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Cameron Pope
LiveScore
Neymar scored eight goals to help Brazil qualify for the World Cup
Neymar scored eight goals to help Brazil qualify for the World Cup

- Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 matches 
- Aleksandar Mitrovic has six goals in his last four appearances for Serbia 
- Recommended bet: Brazil to win and both teams to score

Brazil get their World Cup 2022 campaign underway on Thursday against arguably the toughest of their Group H opponents, Serbia.

Tite's men are on a 20-year drought at the event, their longest dry spell since a 24-year wait between victories in 1970 and 1994, but are hot favourites to lift the famous trophy for a record fifth time this December.

Uruguay and South Korea also share their group, but Brazil's first task is disposing of a hungry adversary led by a formidable Premier League striker.

The Serbs can be encouraged by the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Tunisia on Tuesday, who each secured memorable results against teams tipped to reach the latter stages.

Team news

The Selecao squad could certainly be considered the strongest in Qatar, with a wealth of major league talent available at Tite's fingertips.

His roster boasts household names such as Neymar and Marquinhos of PSG, as well as Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr, while Ederson and Alisson of Manchester City and Liverpool continue their Premier League rivalry in the battle for the starting goalkeeper slot.

Newcastle's Bruno Guimaraes could be set to miss the opener after limping out of an early training session.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored nine Premier League goals this season
Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored nine Premier League goals this season

Serbia's main goal threat, Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham, also faces a race to be fit as he recovers from a recent foot injury, but Dusan Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic are ready to deputise in case of his absence.

Stats

Brazil's form is sensational; the competition's most successful nation are unbeaten in their last 15 matches coming into the tournament, with Argentina the last nation to get the better of them in a qualifying match 14 months ago.

Their four warm-up matches against South Korea, Japan, Ghana and Tunisia all ended in victory, with a goal difference of +12.

But Serbia's recent run further suggests that Dragan Stojkovic's charges are not to be underestimated.

They recovered from a defeat to Norway in the Nations League in June to win their group and gain promotion to the top tier, thrashing Bahrain 5-1 in a friendly last Friday to extend their own unbeaten streak to six games, with five wins in that time.

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Prediction

Brazil are overwhelming favourites to start their 23rd World Cup finals with a win.

Their chances are reflected in a 4/9 price tag, but a Selecao win with both teams to score can be backed at 9/5 with LiveScore Bet, in what could be a challenging match for the South Americans.

Their first match in 2018 saw them slip to a 1-1 draw with Switzerland despite taking an early lead, though a 2-0 victory over Serbia in game three ultimately secured top spot in Group E, sending their opponents home empty-handed.

This year, Tite is blessed with an array of attacking threats, with perhaps the foremost, Neymar, looking to add to his six goals at World Cup finals events.

The 30-year-old could be entering his last global showdown while at the peak of his powers and will be as keen as anyone to improve on runs to the last four and last eight in 2014 and 2018, respectively.

Neymar is 7/5 via LiveScore Bet to score anytime, while fitness concerns surrounding Mitrovic leave him at 7/1 to score anytime with LiveScore Bet.

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BrazilSerbiaWorld Cup
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