Brazil coach wary of Ukraine threat
Ahead of an international friendly against Ukraine on Monday, new Brazil coach Mano Menezes has expressed his belief that the challenge will be the toughest yet since taking over the helm of A Selecao.
Menezes has overseen two comfortable wins to begin his tenure in charge of the Brazilian national team. The 48-year-old marked his debut in August with a 2-0 success over the United States, before watching Brazil beat Iran 3-0 in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
Menezes will aim to maintain his unblemished record at Pride Park in Derby, England and believes the UEFA Euro 2012 co-hosts, who are unbeaten in their past seven matches, will provide a stern test.
"Ukraine play at a high level and have more experience (than previous rivals)," he said. "It's going to be a different and more competitive game."
Menezes employed three forwards against Iran with Robinho and Alexandre Pato playing alongside Inter Milan starlet Philippe Coutinho, who looks the most likely to return to the bench after making his starting debut in midweek.
"Maybe we will start Adriano. Maybe we will test our squad with two forwards," Menezes said.
"We'll think about those changes. What's important is to keep working to build the team's confidence," said the Brazil coach.
That run of results has come despite a change of leadership in the national team. Myron Markevych resigned in August, with then-assistant coach Yuriy Kalitvintsev stepping into the caretaker role. While the Russian-born coach is yet to taste defeat at the helm, his side have come in for criticism after they were held to a 2-2 draw with Canada in Kiev on Friday.
Before that match, star striker Andriy Shevchenko announced he would retire from professional football after the UEFA Euro 2012 finals - meaning the former Chelsea man is likely to make his last appearance in England.
"When we were beaten by Greece in the play-off for a spot at the 2010 World Cup, I realised that I will never play at a World Cup again," the 34-year-old told Sport Express.
"I want to play in Euro 2012 and will then hang up my boots. I've given it a lot of thought and my decision is final," said Shevchenko.
Shevchenko made his 100th appearance for Ukraine against Canada on Friday night and has scored 45 times for his country.