Partially in preparation for a tough opponent and partially to make a bunch of money, Iraq are going a bit out of their way to Sweden to take on Brazil in a neutral site friendly. Of course, whenever Brazil plays any neutral site game, they have the crowd behind them, but at least Iraq doesn't have to make the trip to Rio.
Because Brazil automatically qualify for the World Cup by virtue of hosting it, they're spending two years on a money-making friendly tour. They might start exclusively scheduling tough opponents after the Confederations Cup in order to prepare for the tournament, but for now, they're just playing in places that are convenient for their European players while making some money. The most notable call-up to this Brazil squad is Kaka, who returns after two years out of the team. He joins the regular starting cast of Neymar, Hulk, Leandro Damiao and Oscar, and will probably come off the bench.
Following this friendly, Iraq travels home to take on a struggling Australia side in World Cup qualifying. Given how jumbled their qualifying group is and how poorly Australia is playing, the Iraqis have a very real chance to qualify for the World Cup. After Thursday's match, a poor Socceroos side at home might seem like easy opposition.
Match date/time: Thursday, 8:30 p.m. local, 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Swedbank Stadion, Malmö, Sweden
TV: GolTV (U.S. and Canada)