Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Neymar shines as Brazil beat Austria in World Cup warm-up

Neymar shines as Brazil beat Austria in World Cup warm-up

Eager to put their humiliation on home soil in 2014 firmly behind them, the Brazilians appear confident and at ease in surroundings which in this lush part of Russian Federation are not completely unlike home. With pinpoint precision he curved the ball from the corner flag into an empty net.

Without providing details of the injury, Tite said Fred's situation was "improving" but didn't hint whether the midfielder could be back for the team's World Cup opener.

On 63 minutes, the PSG attacker produced a moment of sheer fleet-footed, bamboozling Leicester defender Aleksandar Dragović and leaving him on his arse, before slotting past Heinz Lindner...

Jesus, Neymar and Coutinho got the goals as Tite's side produced an extremely encouraging performance in their final warm-up match. Neymar's levity in movement and gaiety in the game befitted Brazil's talisman.

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Coutinho when then hit the crossbar while Firmino nearly got on the scoresheet as the game ended in a deserved 3-0 win to the visitors. Neymar's strike had Brazil's coach raving.

Current coach Tite has done well to restore the balance of Brazil's squad which has been over-reliant on Neymar in the past. "His technical and creative ability is impressive. When we get him in the last third of the field he is lethal".

Brazil will not play any matches in Sochi and will travel more than 4,300 miles (7,000 kilometers) for its group-stage games in Rostov-on-Don, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Fatherly, enthusiastic and protective when the occasion demands, he is beloved by the players, while his collaborative approach behind the scenes, where he has a small army of back-room staff, has also won him admirers. In six games without Neymar, Brazil still won four times, including a friendly against Germany in Berlin in March. The five-time world champions are feeling quite at home at the tourist destination by the Black Sea, enjoying warm temperatures and a private beach. "We have worked on playing out of defense", said Tite's assistant Cleber Xavier. "It is our style of play", elaborated Tite.

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But, for Tite, fouling the opponents means his team have wasted a chance to win back possession of the ball and start a new attack. You have to play with speed and compactness.

The five-time world champions, drawn in Group E, begin their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on Sunday, 17 June before facing Costa Rica and Serbia. The Austrians have geographic proximity to Switzerland, but their game style is different.

Although Brazil legend Claudio Taffarel did not have the most high-profile club career, he is heavily considered as one of the greatest Selecao goalkeepers of all time.

The depth in attacking options is vast, though, with Taison, Roberto Firmino and Douglas Costa all capable of jostling for a position in the starting XI.

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