Levein thrilled to face Brazil

Craig Levein will be as excited as any fan when his Scotland side take on Brazil in their friendly at Emirates Stadium on Sunday (KO 2pm).

Last Updated: 26/03/11 at 18:13

Levein: Looking ahead to taking on Brazil

Levein: Looking ahead to taking on Brazil

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Around 30,000 Scotland fans are expected to travel to north London for the friendly against the five-time World Cup winners.

And Levein's squad will arrive in the capital on Saturday after a week at their La Manga training camp with all the players desperate to be handed a starting slot.

However, no-one is looking forward to the game more than former Scotland defender Levein, who admits to a long-held affection for Brazil.

"It's everyone's dream to play football for their country and after that I have been fortunate enough to be the Scotland manager," Levein told TalkSport.

"I don't know what it is about Brazil but there is just something magical about them.

"I remember as a kid getting our first colour television and looking at the strip on there and, from then on, I was almost in love with it."

While acknowledging the brilliance of Brazil over the years, Levein insists his side will not be looking to simply contain the multi-talented South Americans.

"If you take on the best teams in the world you have to be in a good place mentally to do that and the players are in that place just now," he said.

"The encouraging thing for me is that they are all playing very well for their clubs so their confidence is high.

"And I think we have found the system that suits the players we have got.

"That is important because as an international manager it sometimes takes a while to discover exactly which system is best for the players.

"We are not going to change that and worry too much about being overly defensive.

"I think we are in a better place now than we were eight or nine months ago so we will have a go and see what we can do."

Brazil have not lost in nine meetings with Scotland and few expect Levein's side to make a dent in that statistic in London.

However, the Scotland boss added: "You can't run away from it. You have to stretch yourself at times and see where you are and that's what this game is for, to see where we actually are.

"We played Spain last October and put on a fantastic show and arguably Brazil are of that standard. It is another test for us.

"It is a fairly daunting task. I think we have played them nine times and haven't managed to get a victory yet so there is a challenge for us."

Levein has added Peterborough's uncapped Craig Mackail-Smith to the Scotland squad for the game.

The Scotland manager is looking to explore new options and has been impressed by the reference he has received from Posh manager Darren Ferguson.

Mackail-Smith has notched 27 goals so far this term for the League One side and Levein will be no doubt keen for him to replicate that at international level.

Levein had been on the lookout for new striking options after the withdrawal from the squad by Steven Naismith, leaving him with only Kenny Miller as his only recognised frontman.

Levein's men will not resume their Euro 2012 qualification bid until September but a stern test against the Brazilians awaits.

The Scots are set to continue with their talented trio of Charlie Adam, Barry Bannan and Kris Commons, who started against the Faroe Islands in their last outing.

Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley is ruled out with a knee injury, while Iain Turner has also withdrawn from the squad.

Robert Snodgrass is also set to continue after being blooded in the recent Carling Nations games.

Celtic captain Scott Brown travelled with the squad despite suffering a hamstring injury in the defeat to Rangers last Sunday.

West Brom's James Morrison is determined to play even though he needed stitches after a clash of heads in their 2-2 draw with Arsenal, while Darren Fletcher misses the game through injury.

Brazil will be without AC Milan striker Pato who misses the game after he sprained his ankle.

Villarreal striker Nilmar is doubtful so Internacional's Leandro Damiao has been drafted in as cover.

The 21-year-old is uncapped but has scored 13 goals this year and is possibly one for the future.

Brazil coach Mano Menezes is currently preparing his side for the Copa America which starts in July, but he has also stated he will use this game to look at options for next summer's Olympics.

AC Milan's Robinho has been left out of the squad after captaining them to their 1-0 defeat in their last friendly game.

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