The U.S. Men’s National Team beings a challenging slate of games during the official start of the 2022 cycle when they face five-time World Cup champions Brazil in the opening match of the Kickoff Series.
Before USA-Brazil, presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance, on Friday, Sept. 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., here are five things you should know about the South American powerhouse.
There is no more successful nation in world football than Brazil. The largest country in South America is also the only one to win the FIFA World Cup on five occasions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002) and also the only nation to qualify for all 21 editions of the tournament.
Along with great team performances, the football-mad country has also produced some of the best players in history. From Pele, Zico and Socrates, to modern figures like Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho and Kaká, Brazil has no shortage of great players as part of its legacy.
Friday’s match marks Brazil’s first since participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. In Russia, Brazil went 2-0-1 during group play, drawing Switzerland 1-1 before earning matching 2-0 victories against Costa Rica and Serbia, respectively. After finishing on top of Group E, O Canarinho defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16, before falling 2-1 to eventual third-place finishers Belgium in the Quarterfinals.
September’s friendlies against the USA and El Salvador are Brazil’s first steps in the new World Cup cycle, which will see the team build towards the 2019 Copa America set to take place on home soil next summer.
On Aug. 17, 2018, Brazil head coach Tite named a 24-player roster for the side’s matches against the USA and El Salvador. Led by Neymar, 13 of the players featured for Brazil at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while 11 players combined for a total of 21 trophies won across domestic and European club competitions last season.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alisson (Liverpool/ENG), Hugo (Flamengo), Neto (Valencia)
DEFENDERS (8): Alex Sandro (Juventus/ITA), Dedé (Cruzeiro), Fabinho (Liverpool/ENG), Fagner (Corinthians), Felipe (Porto/POR), Filipe Luís (Atlético Madrid/ESP), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Andreas Pereira (Manchester United/ENG), Arthur (Barcelona/ESP), Casemiro (Real Madrid/ESP), Fred (Manchester United/ENG), Lucas Paquetá (Flamengo), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/ESP), Renato Augusto (Beijing Gouan/CHN), Willian (Chelsea/ENG)
FORWARDS (5): Douglas Costa (Juventus/ITA), Éverton (Grêmio), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool/ENG), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Pedro (Fluminense)
The teams met almost 90 years ago, with the USA going down in a wild 4-3 defeat to Brazil on Aug. 17, 1930 in Rio de Janeiro. Sixty-two years would pass before they crossed paths again, and in that timespan Brazil had grown to become world football’s best team, dominating most competition. Overall, O Canarinho holds a 17-1-0 all-time record against the MNT, with the South American power’s one blemish coming back in 1998.
- READ MORE: Three Tidbits of History vs. Brazil
Facing the USA in that year’s Gold Cup Semifinals, Brazil forced Kasey Keller to come up with the game of his career, with the MNT net minder turning away 10 shots to set up Preki’s decisive 65th minute winner in a 1-0 victory on Feb. 10, 1998 at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Though frustrated with not converting on the night, Brazil legend Romario said post-game that Keller’s display was “the greatest game I’ve ever seen from a goalkeeper.”
USA-Brazil Connection Via France
The star-studded Brazil roster does have one connection to the U.S. squad, via France where MNT winger Tim Weah is teammates with the trio of Neymar, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos at Paris Saint-Germain.
Already enthused about the prospect of getting to play against Brazil, Weah said there was a little bit of friendly trash talk when he confirmed he would be a part of this month’s U.S. roster.
“We joked about getting to play against each other,” he told ussoccer.com. “I told them, ‘I’m still going to beat you, because we’re not scared of you guys. We’re not scared of anything to be honest.’”
After giving his friendly jab, Weah made sure to pay his respects to his club teammates, all three of which are at least a few years senior to him.“Those are three guys that I do look up to because they have been playing in the club I’m at and at such a high level for such a long time. A player like Neymar – when I was younger, I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to play with his skill and score goals that he scored. To be on the same pitch as teammates and now possibly against each other is super amazing. That’s the same for Thiago Silva and Marquinhos. They’re amazing center backs and leaders of men. It’s a dream to get to play against the three of them