Vol. 5 Num 295 Sat. March 26, 2005  

FIFA Fussball-Weltmeisterschaft Deutschland 2006
Preview: Brazil v Peru

The Robinho question

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira may bow to public opinion and field 21-year-old Santos forward Robinho in his team for Sunday's World Cup qualifier at home to Peru.

Parreira is often criticised for being unnecessarily conservative and Brazilians are hoping that this time, he will throw caution to the wind and field Robinho alongside Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka.

The formation is already being dubbed the Fantastic Four even before it has been used.

Robinho, whose speed and cheeky skills have made him a favourite with the public, has started only one international so far -- the 7-1 friendly win over Hong Kong in February.

Parreira needs to find some inspiration to put Brazil back on track in the qualifying competition and, with Inter Milan's Adriano missing through injury, Robinho could be his answer.

Although Brazil are second in the 10-nation South American group and still on course for the Germany finals in 2006, they have taken only one point from their last two games against Colombia and Ecuador and have failed to score.

Their lack of imagination when facing a packed Colombian defence in last November's goalless draw was especially worrying.

Parreira was offering no clues on whether Robinho would start the match in Gioania on Sunday after fog curtailed Thursday's training session.

"I'm going to decide on the day of the game," he told reporters.

Peru, who have drawn 1-1 in their last two meetings with the world champions, will be happy to repeat the scoreline as they attempt to qualify for their first World Cup since 1982.

They are seventh in the standings with 13 points from 11 games but are only three points behind third-placed Ecuador and Parreira is wary of the attack formed by Dutch-based striker Jefferson Farfan and Bayern Munich's Claudio Pizarro.

"It's not going to be easy because they have an experienced team with good players and a dangerous counter-attack," Parreira warned.

Paolo Guerrero, Pizarro's team mate at Bayern and another hope for the future, is nursing a thigh strain and will not start, though he could be used as a substitute.

The top four teams in the group qualify directly for the finals and the fifth plays off against the Oceania region winners.

Peru, coached by Brazilian Paulo Autuori, have already said that they are not afraid of the five-times world champions.

"We're going there to win, we know Brazil are strong and I'm sure we'll play a great game," said Pizarro.

The Brazilian football team train in Teresopolis near Rio de Janeiro on March 23. The world champions take on Peru in a World Cup qualifier at 2 am Bangladesh Standard Time on Monday. PHOTO: AFP