Belo Horizonte — Playing at the stadium where it was
humiliated 7-1 by Germany two years ago, Brazil can wipe away some of the
lingering pain from that defeat with a convincing performance against Argentina
in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday.
The match is being held at the Mineirao Stadium, which is
where Brazil was utterly crushed by Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 World
"Of course returning here still touches all of us, even
those that didn't play," Brazil coach Tite said. "But we have to know
how to work in all situations. Two years have passed and we are in a different
Brazil midfielder Renato Augusto summed up the despondency
felt by the nation that day, calling it "a defeat for the whole
All 62,000 seats are expected to be taken at the stadium in
Belo Horizonte, located 350 kilometers (220 miles) north of Rio de Janeiro.
Since Tite took over, Brazil has won four straight matches
in South American qualifying and leads the group with 21 points from 10
matches. Argentina is five points behind.
Three Brazilians who are likely to start against Argentina
played against Germany: Real Madrid left back Marcelo, Manchester City
midfielder Fernandinho and Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho. Chelsea
winger Willian is not expected to start, but also played against the Germans in
the match now known as "Mineirazo."
Also read: Brazil leads World Cup qualifiers, Argentina shocked at home
Many others who played against Germany — like Chelsea
defender David Luiz and Atletico Mineiro striker Fred — are not touted to
return to the national team soon.
Some of the first Brazil players to arrive in Belo Horizonte
were also pledging to make fans forget about the 7-1 loss.
"Brazil has a chance to rewrite history," Paulinho
said. "We are not going to change what happened, but we can leave a good
impression this time. After all we went through in 2014, this is a chance to
make a comeback against a great team."
Defender Rodrigo Caio, who had just turned professional in
2014, said "this is a new Brazil, and fans will see that on the field. I
can only imagine what that game was like for those that played."
One young fan that attended Monday's open training session
recalled the pain he felt watching as Germany destroyed Brazil's hopes of a
sixth World Cup win.
"I cried a lot at the 7-1. But now I am confident
again," said 12-year-old Maicon Silva as he watched the squad training,
before adding perhaps somewhat hopefully "we are going to (win) 7-1
against Argentina to compensate."
Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar were expected to
arrive on Tuesday as they prepare to compete against each other.
Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza told The Associated Press that
he is concerned about not reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This is almost
unthinkable for a team led by Messi that lost the 2014 final to Germany 1-0.
After Brazil, Argentina faces Colombia on Nov. 15 in another
"I'm worried because the qualifying is still not
assured and must still be won," Bauza said.
The four automatic spots from South American qualifying are
now held by Brazil, Uruguay (20 points), and Ecuador and Colombia (17). A fifth
spot will be decided by a playoff.
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