Sunderland keeper Gordon relishing Brazil clash

Craig Gordon

Craig Gordon

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CRAIG Gordon hopes Scotland’s encounter with Brazil lives up to the World Cup drama of his youth.

The Sunderland goalkeeper is currently in Spain at the La Manga training camp with the rest of the Scotland squad preparing for Sunday’s clash with Brazil, at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

While Sunderland team-mate Phil Bardsley has been ruled out of the encounter with a knee injury, Gordon hopes to be involved, although a bout of tendonitis is likely to see him confined to the bench.

Gordon was a youngster at Hearts when Scotland last faced Brazil – in the opening game of the 1998 World Cup when Tom Boyd’s own goal denied the Scots a shock draw.

The 28-year-old hopes the weekend’s clash is similarly absorbing with Scotland winning their last two games under boss Craig Levein.

Gordon told the Echo: “I was 15 for that World Cup game and I remember watching it. It was an incredible spectacle being in the opening World Cup game against Brazil.

“There was a great atmosphere in the country with all the flags flying.

“It was an amazing time and, unfortunately, we’ve not managed to get back to that again.

“It’s nice to play Brazil in a friendly, it would be even better to get to a major championship to play them.

“I remember the goals well and thinking when John Collins scored the penalty past Taffarel that we had a great chance of taking something and advancing in the tournament.

“That would have been an unbelievable result, but, unfortunately, the Tom Boyd own goal did for that.”

He added: “You don’t get much bigger games than Brazil.

“They’ve got some great players at the very highest level and it’s a great challenge for us.

“We’ve done well in recent games and there looks to be a nucleus of a good squad coming together.

“The manager has managed to keep it pretty much the same from the last squad.

“Hopefully we don’t get too many injuries and we can keep the squad together.

“That’s the only way to progress, by getting a more constant team.”

While the game strangely place on neutral territory, Gordon expects the atmosphere at the Emirates to be fiercely partisan.

“I’m sure the Tartan Army will definitely make it sound like a home game for us,” added the £9million stopper.

“It’s not too far away for them.

“I’ve been inundated with ticket requests, so I do know there are a lot of people planning to travel.

“The flights and trains are pretty much booked up, so it’ll be pretty difficult to get to London at the weekend from Scotland.

“The motorways will be busy. Everyone has resorted to driving.

“They’ll have a great day out because it’s an amazing stadium just to be there.

“For the players, it is one of the best surfaces and stadiums to play in.”