Three-time African champions, Nigeria’s Super Eagles, will this afternoon in Singapore take on arguably football’s most glamorous national team, Brazil, in a mouth watering friendly encounter. Fresh off a 2-2 draw with Ukraine in another international friendly last month, the Super Eagles will be loking to deny the South American champions their first victory since winning the Copa America in July.
The five-time world champions are currently enduring their longest wait for victory since 2013 and were held by Senegal at the same venue in Singapore on Thursday.
After going unbeaten for 17 games since being knocked out of the 2018 World Cup, the draw against Senegal extended Brazil’s run without a victory to three games following their matches in September when they drew against Colombia and lost against Peru. It’s the longest sequence without a win since coach Tite took over in 2016.
Nigeria finished third in the Africa Cup of Nations in the summer and most recently drew 2-2 in Ukraine, meaning they have now lost five of their last seven fixtures against non-African opponents, including friendlies.
The coronation of Brazil as Copa America champions this summer was their finest moment as a footballing nation since they last lifted the trophy in 2007, but things have since been tougher for Tite and co.
The Selecao have not won since their 3-1 triumph over Peru in July’s final, losing to the same opposition in Los Angeles last month in addition to draws with Colombia and Senegal.
Should they fail to beat the Super Eagles today, then it would be their longest winless run since a streak of five successive draws which ended in May 2004.
It is not as though they have been playing weakened teams in these friendlies either; the likes of Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho all started on Thursday as Brazil failed to beat Senegal.
Alisson and Danilo are both injured, meaning Ederson will continue in goal for Brazil. Renan Lodi, Marcinho and Matheus Henrique will all hope to make their first international starts.
Nigeria’s youthful squad includes just two players older than 29, with defender William Troost-Ekong boasting 39 caps – the most of the 22-man squad.
The Super Eagles have had some withdrawals from the original squad named by coach Gernot Rohr. Most recently, midfielder Peter Etebo did not travel due to a visa issue whereas Kenneth Omeruo, Ola Aina and Samuel Kalu are all missing through injury.
Brazil’s success at the 2019 Copa America was built largely on their defensive prowess, with the only goal they conceded in six matches being a penalty in the final.
Including the final, which ended 3-1 to Brazil, the Selecao have now shipped five goals in their last four games, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those fixtures.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have managed 10 goals in their last six games and after seeing Senegal fire 10 shots against Brazil on Thursday, the Super Eagles will be confident of finding the net today.
Brazil are likely to rotate the strong defence they played against Senegal and that could allow Nigeria to have plenty of chances to score.