Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Brazil cover Coutinho in eggs and flour for his birthday

Before departing to Russia, Brazil defeated Austria 3:0 in a friendly match.

Austria, unbeaten in their last eight games and winners over Germany one week ago, proved uncomfortable opponents and had nothing to lose in front of a capacity 48,500 crowd, having failed to qualify for the World Cup.

So, how have they managed that?

Unsurprisingly, Brazil and Germany are the teams appearing most often in forecast models produced by economists. In particular, the defensive midfield role performed by Real Madrid's Casemiro is essential, providing a link between defence and midfield and a shield to the back four.

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Tite's squad is brimming with world class talent, and in Neymar, they possess a player capable of pure magic.

Gabriel Jesus got the scoring started against Austria and in doing so probably made sure of a starting place ahead of Roberto Firmino in Brazil's World Cup opener against Switzerland next Sunday.

Manchester City striker Jesus also insisted Tite's side are ready for the tournament. We should note that Goldman also tipped Brazil in 2014 (forecasting a 3-1 win over Argentina in the final).

They will head to Russian Federation in confident mood, having lost only one out of 21 games - a friendly against Argentina - in Tite's two years in charge.

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As the squad trained in the blistering heat in Sochi, the players took it upon themselves to lighten the mood by covering the Barcelona playmaker in eggs and flour, as is tradition in Brazil.

Coutinho nearly got his second and Brazil's fourth in the 73rd minute but his curling strike from distance rattled the upright with Linder well beaten. He had come off the bench to score in the win over Croatia in Liverpool a week earlier.

You won't need to wait for long before you can find out who Mourinho has tipped for glory in the World Cup final itself, as we'll be revealing tomorrow exactly how Jose thinks the tournament's grand finale will pan out.

The South American nation unleashed their full attacking might against Austria on Sunday as the feared quartet of Neymar, Willian, Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus start together for the first time.

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