Brazil v Ghana
Kick-off 16:00 (BST)

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Tournament favourites and five-times winners Brazil meet World Cup new boys Ghana in an intriguing second round clash.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will be without Robinho, who has been ruled out of the match with a thigh injury so Adriano is expected to come in.

Parreira could opt to push Ronaldinho further forward to support Ronaldo, with Lyon’s Juninho Pernambucano drafted into midfield.

Ronaldo, who has come in for almost constant criticism for his performances in Germany, managed to temporarily silence his critics with his brace against Japan. Brazil’s all-time record scorer at the World Cup finals needs just one more goal to overtake 14-goal Gerd Muller as the tournament’s all-time top scorer.

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has warned his side not to be complacent against the African side.

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien misses the game through suspension, but Ghana will still be a threat, says Parreira.

“There may be no Michael Essien but there is Stephen Appiah. They are good and have nothing to lose,” he said.

“They will be aggressive and shoot on sight. We have to work out how to pass the ball under those circumstances.”

Parreira is a former coach of the Ghana national side himself, and he recognises that today’s opponents will be up for the game.

“They are playing the five-time world champions and one of the favourites for this title,” he said.

Ghana qualified by virtue of wins over the Czech Republic and USA, and coach Ratomir Dujkovic has told his team not to be overawed by the prospect of facing Brazil.

“What we must not do is be intimidated by those yellow shirts,” he said.

“My team can’t afford to stand looking at their idols, wondering how they are playing. They must try to stop them.”

Ghana are without midfielder Michael Essien, who is suspended, but Dujkovic says they must not let that bother them.

“Team spirit and collectiveness are more important to us than any individual,” he said.

“Although we recognise the game will be extremely tough for us, I still believe we will reach the semi-finals.

“It’s always tough in the World Cup against strong teams, especially for debutantes.

“I say just to treat them like any other team. I tell them it’s 11-on-11 and the ball is in the middle.

“We have to prepare a strategy to stop them and how to score. Brazil must suffer if they are going to win.”

But he also warned his side not to underestimate Ronaldo, despite the Real Madrid striker’s reported weight problems.

“His weight has nothing to do with his ability to score goals,” he said.

“He is an important figure for Brazil. He is always dangerous and we have to be aware of that.”

Dujkovic’s side are weakened by the absence of Essien, and the onus will fall on of Stephen Appiah and Derek Boateng to fill the hole left by Essien.

Other than Essien’s absence, Ghana are expected to be at full-strength – Razak Pimpong injured a rib against USA but should shake off the knock in time to play.

The sides have only ever met once before and it resulted in an 8-2 friendly victory for Brazil back in 1996. Given the form of the respective teams in Germany, a much closer contest is in prospect.

Probable teams:
Brazil: Richard Kingston; John Paintsil, Habib Mohammed, John Mensah, Shilla Illiasu; Derek Boateng, Stephen Appiah, Otto Addo, Sulley Muntari; Matthew Amoah, Asamoah Gyan.

Ghana: Oleksander Shovkovsky; Volodymir Yezersky, Vladislav Vashchyuk, Andriy Nesmachny; Oleg Gusev, Anatoly Tymoshchyuk, Oleg Shelayev, Maxim Kalinichenko, Serhiy Rebrov; Andriy Shevchenko, Andriy Voronin.

Referee:: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).

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