Venezuela coach Cesar Farias has revealed his starting XI for Sunday's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Brazil. The attack will again comprise Juan Arango and Giancarlo Maldonado, while Roberto Rosales will step in for the injured Gerzon Chacon at right-wingback.
One minor surprise was the absence of Cesar Gonzalez. The exciting Huracan midfielder had been tipped for a return to the side, but he will have to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench. Denizlispor goalkeeper Renny Vega will continue between the sticks.
Three successive losses have descended Venezuela to third-bottom on the South American standings, and they need a win over A Seleção to revive their hopes of reaching the FIFA World Cup for the first time. La Vinotinto have seven points to their name, six shy of fourth-placed Chile, who occupy the last automatic qualification spot for South Africa 2010.
The fifth-placed finishers will play off against the fourth-placed side from the North, Central America and Caribbean Zone for a place at the world finals. Venezuela remain the only side in their ten-team group to have never reached the FIFA World Cup.
They do have a reason for optimism going into their ninth outing of the campaign. Indeed, Venezuela beat Brazil 2-0 in a friendly in the USA in June, with Atlante's Maldonado and Club Brugge playmaker Ronald Vargas scoring their goals. It was their first defeat of their southerly neighbours in 18 attempts.
"We are looking forward to having two home matches after three of our last four games were away," said Farias, referring also to Wednesday's visit of Ecuador. "," added Maldonado.