Football

Published: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 4:12:06 AM
Updated: Thursday December 12, 2013 MYT 4:12:09 AM

Brazil target Serbia or Czech Republic for finals warm-up

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil hope to face Eastern European and Central American opposition before next year's World Cup in a bid to familiarise themselves with styles similar to those of group rivals Croatia and Mexico, officials said on Wednesday.

The Brazilian Football Confederation is in talks with Serbia and the Czech Republic for a friendly on June 4 and it is also expected to sound out Central American sides for a game on June 7, according to Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil's assistant coach.

"Serbia is one of the candidates, they're a strong side, and technically very proficient," Parreira said, before adding that they hoped to find a Central American side that "would not provide too much trouble and don't have a physical style that will upset us."

Brazil recently played Honduras and were angered at some of the tough tackling, particularly on Barcelona striker Neymar. Brazil won the match 5-0.

Brazil open their World Cup campaign in Sao Paulo against Croatia on June 12 and then play Mexico in Fortaleza on June 17. Their final Group A match is against Cameroon in Brasilia on June 23.

Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari is to announce their squad on May 7, and 19 days later the players will gather at the team's headquarters outside Rio de Janeiro.

So far Brazil has only one friendly arranged before then, against South Africa in Johannesburg on March 5.

Brazil will host the World Cup next year for the first time since 1950.

(Writing by Andrew Downie, reporting by Pedro Fonseca; editing by Stephen Wood)

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