Neymar shines for Brazil

Brazil concluded their European warm-up ahead of the 2018 World Cup by beating Austria 3-0, thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus, Neymar and Philippe Coutinho.

Set up by Willian in the 63th minute, Neymar wrong-footed Austria defender Aleksandar Dragovic with a quick move and converted through the legs of goalkeeper Heinz Lindner for Brazil's second goal.

The Paris Saint-Germain star made his first start for Brazil since November as he continues his comeback from foot surgery and was on the end of several fouls he did not seem to appreciate.

The birthday prank took place at Brazil's pre-World Cup training session in Russian Federation - they kick-start their campaign against Swtizerland on Sunday.

"I wanted to pay homage to him in some way because he is an idol".

The first scare came in the third minute following a late tackle from behind by midfielder Alessandro Schoepf. Similar fouls were committed by Florian Grillitsch in the 35th and Sebatian Proedl in the 53rd.

On Sunday, those in a bitterly divided land may put their differences to one side and finally unite in order to get behind a team reimagined under Tite and with a genuine chance of going all the way in Russian Federation. Yeah, he's ready for the World Cup.

Four years later, playing as hosts under Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil were overly dependent on Neymar as they muddled their way through to the semi-finals before losing 7-1 to Germany, when he was injured. After playing Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don on June 17, it faces Costa Rica in St. Petersburg five days later, before wrapping up its Group E campaign against Serbia on June 27 in Moscow.

"You can talk, you're Brazilian and you can dream; we're dreaming more and more".

In his blog on UOL Esporte, respected journalist Paulo Vinicius Coelho, known as PVC, noted how Brazil had "transformed a hard game into an easy [one]" by beating an Austria side that had won its last seven fixtures.

Austria failed to qualify for the World Cup.

The Selecao will now fly to Russia fresh from victories over Croatia, Austria, Russia and the defending world champions, Germany.

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