Sao Paulo, March 21 (IANS) Brazil midfielder Casemiro believes that the team’s chances of beating Uruguay in their 2018 football World Cup qualifier on Thursday will be aided by the absence of striker Luis Suarez.
Brazil will be guaranteed a berth at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia if they defeat Oscar Tabarez’s team at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo, reports Xinhua news agency.
FC Barcelona striker Suarez will miss the match due to suspension, and Real Madrid’s Casemiro knows only too well the significance of the former Liverpool star’s absence, having played against him in Spain’s El Clasico.
“We can’t deny that it’s better to play Uruguay without Luis Suarez,” Casemiro told reporters on Monday.
“But we have to be wary of all of their players. They are a dangerous team and it won’t be easy.”
Brazil currently lead the South American zone World Cup qualifying standings with 27 points from 12 matches. Uruguay are second with 23 points.
The top four teams at the end of the qualifying campaign will book an automatic World Cup place while the fifth-ranked side will earn a play-off spot.
Meanwhile, Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho said Brazil will be content with a draw against Uruguay.
“It’s going to be difficult and for that reason a draw won’t be a bad result,” Paulinho told reporters.
“But our aim is to play as well as we can and try to win the match. We have to be mentally strong, calm under pressure and have full concentration, particularly at the start of the game because that’s when the pressure is going to be most intense,” he added.
Paulinho is one of two China-based players in Brazil’s squad (the other being Beijing Guoan midfielder Renato Augusto). Both are expected to start against Uruguay at the Centenario stadium.
Brazil trained with just 14 players at the home of Brazilian Serie A club Corinthians in Sao Paulo on Monday.