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Silva hopeful for home start

Former Brazil captain Thiago Silva is hopeful of starting his first international match since last summer’s World Cup humiliation on ‘home’ soil when the Selecao take on France in a friendly in Paris on Thursday.

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Former Brazil captain Thiago Silva is hopeful of starting his first international match since last summer’s World Cup humiliation on ‘home’ soil when the Selecao take on France in a friendly in Paris on Thursday.

The Paris St Germain centre-back looks likely to feature for his country at the Stade de France – just a few kilometres from his club’s home ground, the Parc des Princes – and the 30-year-old would relish the prospect.

“I would be very happy if I have the chance to be a starter,” he said. “I am going to do my best to secure my place in the team.

“I would playing at my home (Paris). I think that during the match the PSG fans are going to shout my name.”

Thiago Silva has not started a match for Brazil since last year’s showpiece event, which ended in an embarrassing 7-1 semi-final thrashing for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men at the hands of eventual winners Germany – a match Thiago Silva missed through suspension.

On the prospect of facing Les Bleus, Thiago Silva noted: “France are a side that have grown very much. They played very well at the World Cup – they are a force and have a player who makes the difference, which is Karim Benzema.

“I think that we are two squads with the same strengths – we are evenly matched. They are going to have the advantage of playing at home, with a full stadium behind them. But on the pitch it will be 11 players and I am sure Dunga will field a strong team in order that we win.”

New coach Dunga, the 1994 World Cup-winning captain, has revitalised his country’s fortunes since beginning a second spell at the helm last July, overseeing six straight wins including victories over Argentina and Colombia.

He will likely field Hoffenheim attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino alongside captain Neymar, with Diego Tardelli ruled out through injury.

Injuries to Thiago Silva’s club colleagues Marquinhos and David Luiz meant an unexpected call-up for Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista last week.

“It was a nice surprise – it made me very happy,” the 24-year-old said. “Every player dreams of being part of the Selecao since being a kid. I do not mind being called up due other players’ injuries because that means that I am being followed by the head coach. That motivates me to continue in good shape for Arsenal.”

After Thursday’s clash, the Verde-Amarela will continue their preparations for this summer’s Copa America with another friendly against Chile in London on Sunday.

France will be without injured Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

Sevilla left-back Benoit Tremoulinas believes Didier Deschamps’ men will face a completely different Brazil side to that which was torn apart by Germany.

“It’s always a thrill to play this great nation – this mythical nation,” he said at a press conference, in quotes reported on fff.fr.

“It is a totally different team, with a more balanced defensive unit (compared with the World Cup). But they have kept their offensive threat. They are on a run of six straight wins. Their coach Dunga has done real work. It will be a very good match.”

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