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Brazil favorite kicks off World Cup bid as Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal enter fray


Brazil favorites begin their bid to win their sixth World Cup title on Thursday when they take on Serbia, while cristiano ronaldo will hope to shelve his bitter departure from Manchester United as Portugal enter the fray with Ghana. Brazil will be wary of a dangerous Serbian team when the two meet at Lusail Stadium, especially after seeing Argentina suffer a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday at the same venue and Germany lose. Japan on Wednesday.

The Brazilians have traveled to Qatar hoping to repeat what happened at the last World Cup held in Asia two decades ago, when they won the championship for the fifth time in Japan.

Tite’s team can count on a Neymar who is in ominous form for Paris Saint-Germain, but around the world’s most expensive player are other excellent attacking players willing to share the burden, such as the Real Madrid duo vinixius Junior and Rodrygo.

“In my opinion, these players will help Neymar because they can divide the responsibilities and create space for him,” said the veteran Brazil captain. Thiago Silva.

“The atmosphere in the team is extremely healthy. The mix of younger players and more experienced players creates a great connection,” he added.

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However, Serbia proved to be more dangerous than four years ago, when they also faced Brazil in the group stage but lost 2-0 and returned home in the first round.

“We are not afraid of anyone in the world, including Brazil,” said Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic. Alexander Mitrovic will be suitable for G table opener.

Portugal ‘absolute focus’

Switzerland and Cameroon start Thursday’s match in the same area at Al Janoub Stadium at 1:00pm (10:00 GMT).

captain switzerland Granite Xhaka said his side would not copy Germany’s gag protest against FIFA’s stance on rainbow-themed armbands.

Switzerland was one of seven European teams whose captains wore the armband to support LGBTQ people at the tournament in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Germany made the gesture as they lined up for team photos ahead of their shock 2-1 loss to Japan after they abandoned plans to captain Manuel Neuer wearing the captain’s armband following threats of disciplinary action by FIFA.

“I don’t think we need to do anything as a Swiss team. We need to respect the rules and focus on our football, that’s all I intend to do,” Xhaka said. said Wednesday.

ronaldoHis preparations for the final World Cup have certainly been overshadowed by his bitter departure from Old Trafford.

Late on Tuesday it was announced that the 37-year-old would leave United with “immediate effect” following a candid interview with a British broadcaster in which he said he felt being “betrayed” by the club and disrespecting the manager. Erik ten Hag.

His club form this season has not been good but he remains hopeful of a final spot of World Cup glory and Portugal will start with a win at the 974 Stadium on the banks of the Doha River first. The Ghanaian football team ranked 61st in the FIFA rankings.

Portuguese coach Fernando Santos claimed that Ronaldo’s departure from United was not discussed by the players.

“The players are absolutely focused, with a great spirit, convinced of what they have to do, what their goals are and realistic about the challenges they are facing,” Santos said.

“Winning a competition of this magnitude is difficult.”

Boys play for Korea

Portugal and Ghana are in Group H with Uruguay and South Korea, who meet in another match on Thursday.

Son Heung-min will be able to play for South Korea despite wearing a mask after having face surgery.

The Tottenham Hotspur attacker and South Korea captain had surgery earlier this month after breaking a bone around his left eye during a UEFA Champions League match.

“Son can play and will be able to play,” said coach Paulo Bento.

Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano scored as Japan came back to beat Germany in Group E, while Spain started their campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica with Ferran Torres scored twice for the 2010 World Cup winners.

Belgium also started Wednesday’s late game win as Michy Batshuayitheir goal gave them a 1–0 win over Canada, Alphonso Davies saved a penalty.

Group F rivals Morocco drew 0-0 with defeated finalists in 2018 Croatia.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from an aggregated feed.)

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