Dani Alves will honour the memory of Brazil legend Carlos Alberto when he skippers the side against Argentina in Belo Horizonte tonight.
Alves will pay a special tribute to Alberto and will wear the number 4 shirt and his armband will bear the words ‘Eterno Capitão’ in tribute to the recently deceased 1970 World Cup- winning captain.
Brazil manager Tite has a policy of rotating captains for the Seleção and the decision was taken to give Alves the armband as he plays at right-back, as Carlos Alberto did.
Alves’ armband will be white, while the rest of his teammates will wear black armbands to mark the life of legend Carlos Alberto who scored the most famous goal in World Cup history, the fourth in Brazil’s 4-2 win over Italy in the 1970 World Cup final. Old rivalries will be renewed when Brazil host Argentina in World Cup qualifying tonight but there is much more on the line too.
Argentina head into this game sitting sixth in the 10-team group, adrift of the four automatic qualification spots and even outside the fifth-place play-off place. There are still eight games remaining and the gap is small. Argentina are level on points with Chile in fifth and only one behind Ecuador and Colombia. But they need to start winning, and fast.
After being persuaded out of international retirement by Argentina’s new coach Edgardo Bauza, Lionel Messi has missed their most recent three matches through injury. Argentina have struggled without their key striker, losing at home to Paraguay last time out after drawing away to Venezuela and Peru. Argentina’s last win came against Uruguay in September and Messi hit the winner.
Brazil return to Belo Horizonte for the first time since their crushing 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany at their home World Cup two years ago. Marcelo, Paulinho, Fernandinho and Dani Alves all endured that semi-final humiliation and are likely to be back playing at the Mineirao this week, where victory over Argentina might go some way to laying to rest the ghosts of 2014.
After 10 games, Brazil are top of the group and unbeaten since losing their opening match 2-0 away to Chile. They have strung together four consecutive wins in qualifying and scored 12 goals in that time, conceding just once. Neymar is still Brazil’s most dangerous attacker but Liverpool duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are both enjoying greater prominence. There are signs Brazil are coming back to life.
Brazil and Argentina both brought in new managers this year, Tite replacing Dunga for Brazil in June, while Bauza succeeded Gerardo Martino in August. They have each overseen four matches in charge but while Tite boasts a perfect record so far, Bauza has won only once. His, and Argentina’s, fate could depend on their next three matches. After Brazil, they face fellow challengers Colombia and Chile at home.
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