Before the World Cup qualifiers take center-stage, two teams likely to contend for the 2014 World Cup will battle it out in an international friendly when Italy take on Brazil in Geneva Thursday.
Italy were one of the most impressive teams in Euro 2012, losing to the almost unbeatable Spain in the final, and Cesare Prandelli's men are expected to be one of the favorites for the World Cup in Brazil in a little over a year's time.
"I think Italy are among those six teams who, that I understand, have more possibilities to win the World Cup in 2014," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said.
"Italy can make a very big and important statement with technically very good players. They are Italy, a team with big tradition. With the modifications made by Prandelli, they adopt a very good standard of play and quality and will probably, in the World Cup, be one of the teams who could win the title."
Prandelli, however, chose to play down the favorites tag in the friendly against Brazil.
"Are we the favourites against Brazil? That seems an exaggeration," Prandelli told reporters. "Yes, they are seeking their identity, but never lost that spirit.
"They have extraordinary quality and their own style of football. We are not the favourites, but we hope to make life difficult for them tomorrow."
"Brazil are seeking the right team for the World Cup and this is a generational change. They will be prepared for the tournament as hosts."
Scolari said he would give Kaka a chance to prove himself in the game against Italy, with Ronaldinho likely to be left out. "There is a possibility (that Ronaldinho and Kaka could play together) yes, but I prefer to give separate chances to both Ronaldinho and Kaka," he said.
"I gave one to Ronaldinho, and he will still be given further chances in the second and third games that lie ahead for Brazil.
"I am giving an opportunity to Kaka, and he will play in the next few matches. Then we will see if they can or cannot play together. Let's see if one will be chosen or neither."
Expected lineups: Italy: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Ranocchia; Abate, Marchisio, Pirlo, Montolivo, Giaccherini; Balotelli, El Shaarawy.
Brazil: Cesar; Alves, Luiz, Thiago, Marcelo; Fernando, Luiz Gustavo; Hulk, Oscar, Neymar; Fred.