Neymar returns with a Bang; Brazil beats Croatia 2-0 at Anfield

Neymar returned to action after February and scored the opener at 69th minute of the game, after coming off the bench.

Roberto Firmino scored the second at his club stadium

There was a lot of buzz before Brazil met Croatia at Anfield on 3rd June in friendly match before World Cup. Fans from Brazil and across the world, anticipated the long-awaited return of Neymar in to action after months of injury, since February and expected a great contest.

But Sunday’s friendly was hardly a spectacle, as both the side were not interested to involve in a tough contest before World Cup . During the first half, Fernandinho and his team-mates were bit struggling or find the openings to put their forwards in position against solid Croatia defence.

Neymar scored a lovely goal as he came as substitution after half-time . That must be assuring to Neymar fans as he has been recuperating from a fractured metatarsal and sprained ankle while playing against Marseille on 25th February .

The 26-year-old cut inside and skipped past two defenders before blasting the ball into the net. Neymar has scored 54 goals for Brazil till date, and needs another one to equal Romario. He currently stands fourth highest goal scorer after prolific Brazilian strikers Pele, Ronaldo and Romario.

Tite changed strategy with Neymer substitution before second half started. Playing Coutinho further back provided the team required impetus. This effective tweak had major impact in the game. Brazilian Football tweeted:

Another substitute, Firmino, delighted the Anfield crowd by adding the second in stoppage-time with a well-taken lob from inside the area.

However, the match, which Brazil won 2-0, saw Coutinho’s return to Anfield for the time since the play-maker left the Reds to join Barcelona in a £142million move in January. It appeared some supporters haven’t forgiven him for deserting them.

After receiving a fairly mixed reception before kick-off, as fans stood divided on Phillipe Coutinho, he produced few moments to remind Reds fans in the crowd of just how technically gifted he really is. The Brazilian has settled in nicely at the Nou Camp this season, registering ten goals, five assists and already winning both La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Brazil’s is meeting  Switzerland in there opening match. World Cup Group-E also have Costa Rica and Serbia.

BRAZIL : Alisson; Danilo, Silva, Miranda, Marcelo (Filipe Luis, 60th minute) ; Paulinho, Casemiro, Fernandinho (Neymar, 46th minute), Willian, Gabriel Jesus (Firmino, 60th minute) , Coutinho.

CROATIA : Subasic; Vrsaljko, Lovren, Corluka ( Ćaleta-Car, 52nd minute), Vida; Rakitic, Badelj, Modric (Kovačić, 58th minute); Perisic, Rebic, Kramaric.