Lionel Messi's Argentina absence a pity for football Neymar

Lionel Messi's Argentina absence a pity for football Neymar

Brazil, hosts of next year's Copa America, head into the encounter in Jedda on the back of Friday's 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia, with Neymar assisting both goals in a lackluster encounter.

The global friendly between Argentina and Brazil will start at 9 pm local time, 11:30 pm IST and 7 pm BST.

It has been a year of disappointment and recrimination in terms of the Argentine national football team and Brazil will look to take advantage of that instability, with their settled group of extremely talented players.

Over the current worldwide break, Brazil, Argentina and Iraq have been taking part in a four-team tournament hosted by Saudi Arabia called the Superclasico.

As a result, Messi is now unavailable for selection for La Albiceleste, though could still return if the national team is on the right path - according to caretaker coach Lionel Scaloni.

Brazil, one of the early favourites for the competition, bowed out at the quarter-finals stage to Belgium in what was a fairly underwhelming showing by the five-time World Cup winners.

Argentina endured a troubled summer in Russian Federation, with rumours of dressing room unrest and poor performances culminating in a last-16 exit to eventual champions France.

Because of that, Brazil should have the majority of the chances and finish the match with the victory. The two sides last met in June 2017 in a friendly in Australia, won 1-0 by Argentina, but Brazil romped to a 3-0 success in their last competitive fixture, a World Cup qualifier in November 2016.

"Every time Argentina play, we have to win".

While it is purely a friendly between Brazil and Argentina, the pair are likely to play as strong a side as they can to keep the fans in Saudi Arabia happy. The likes of Alisson, Danilo and Miranda are all likely to come back into the team, while Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho should all start. For a new-look Argentina, Lautaro Martinez found the net along with Roberto Pereyra, Germán Pezzella, and Franco Cervi.

Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, though, believes that a game against Brazil can not be termed a friendly.

Key Stat: No player scored more goals in Serie A than Mauro Icardi (29) last season.

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