Brazil negotiating friendlies against Japan and England

SAO PAULO — Brazil is only a few bureaucratic details away from confirming friendlies against Japan and England in November.

The Brazilian Football Confederation was in advanced negotiations for matches against Japan in the French city of Lille and days later in London against England, spokesman Vinicius Rodrigues told the Associated Press on Friday.

Brazil and Japan have already qualified for the World Cup in Russia next year.

England leads Group F of European qualifiers by five points with two games to play, and is close to securing a spot.

This week, former Arsenal midfielder and Brazil confederation executive Edu Gaspar was in London to search for pre-World Cup facilities for the Brazilians.

Coach Tite has said recently his team still needs to be tested against sides from outside South America. Since he took over in September 2016, Brazil has still to lose an official match.

Brazil plays its last two South American World Cup qualifiers next month: On Oct. 5 at eliminated Bolivia in La Paz, and five days later at home against desperate Chile.

The confederation said Real Madrid defender Marcelo will be replaced by Juventus' Alex Sandro in the squad for the two qualifiers. Marcelo injured his left leg on Wednesday in the Spanish league, and Spanish media say he will be out of action for about a month.

Also, Brazil women's coach Emily Lima was fired after poor results. No successor has been appointed yet.

Lima, who took over after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, took her complaints with the decision to social media.

"My intense work ethic was not well regarded," she said on her Instagram page. "The reason of my firing is known to all coaches in Brazil: The figures. In my head we need to play against stronger teams to develop."

Under Lima's command, the Brazil women won seven matches, lost five, and drew one.

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