England vs. Brazil (International Friendly)
The national football teams of England and Brazil are in Doha, Qatar this evening for their international friendly encounter as a preparation for next year’s World Cup in South Africa.
The two nations share a mutual fondness for the sport, and have often collided. But why Qatar? Because they’re bidding to host the 2022 World Cup (they plan to install some kind of air conditioning in their stadiums if they win).
Wayne Rooney will captain the Three Lions for the first time against the South Americans if John Terry becomes unavailable because of an ankle problem.
If the Chelsea defender is ruled out, it would be another dilemma for England manager Fabio Capello, who is already preparing without Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Heskey, Carlton Cole and David James, all out injured.
David Beckham was prevented from linking up with his international team-mates due to commitments with his American club Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer play-offs.
The 34-year-old midfielder remains firmly in Capello’s plans ahead of World Cup 2010 after securing another loan stint at AC Milan from January.
Robinho will miss tonight’s game as he continues his resurgence from an ankle problem. Manchester City boss Mark Hughes allowed the striker to join his countrymen on the basis he would not play for them during the international break.
This is going to be an exciting competition. Football’s mother country versus the mother of all World Cup winners!
The match kicks-off at 17:00 GMT.
Prediction: With the absence of England’s top-flight players, I’m going to back Brazil for the victory here.
UPDATE A 47th minute goal by Nilmar gave five-time world champions Brazil a 1-0 win against an understrength England. Watch the game highlights below: