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Full-strength Brazil to take on Ireland
February 18, 2004 14:22 IST
World champions Brazil plan to field a virtually full-strength side in their friendly international against Ireland on Wednesday.
Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said he would start the clash with the side that played in a training match against the rest of the squad at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday afternoon.
That "A" side included Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and most of Brazil's best known players.
"Any time Brazil takes the field it's a serious game, even if it's a friendly," Parreira told reporters, denying he viewed the match as little more than a formality.
"We are the world champions and we have a name to defend. Also, it's part of our preparation for the World Cup.
"With almost all our players playing in Europe, this is really the only chance we have to prepare for our qualifying match against Paraguay next month, so this match against the Irish is most welcome."
Parreira added that Manchester United's Kleberson, who has been out of the squad since last year due in part to injury, would play at least 45 minutes on Wednesday.
"We're very glad to have him back," the coach said.
The only major absentee will be former world player of the year Rivaldo, who is playing in the Libertadores Cup for his Brazilian club Cruzeiro.
The last time Brazil played Ireland, in a friendly on the same ground in 1987, they lost 1-0.
However, on their previous meeting, in Brazil in 1982, the Brazilians won 7-0, a score which remains Ireland's heaviest international defeat.
The world champions are gearing up for a qualifier on March 30 against Paraguay, who lead the South American qualification group with three wins from four matches. Brazil are unbeaten in the group with two wins and two draws.