Neymar return after injury lay-off hailed by Brazil boss Tite
Neymar return after injury lay-off hailed by Brazil boss Tite
GETTYWorld Cup 2018 Neymar will be hoping to fire Brazil to glory this summer
04 June, 2018, 07:41
The 26-year-old had surgery in Brazil amid fears he wouldn't be fit for the World Cup.
Willian found Coutinho in space, he slid the ball to Neymar and the PSG man did the rest, facing up to Duje Caleta-Car before cutting onto his right foot and blasting high into the net.
Brazil are among the favourites to lift the World Cup, just which individual will have the honour of hoisting football's most coveted trophy should they go all the way though is uncertain. "Neymar is only human, but he came back above my expectations, too".
The forward's ability to create chances for himself and open up defences adds some unpredictability to the Brazil attack and after a goalless first half on Sunday they looked more risky with the former Barcelona man on the field.
Neymar was greeted by warm applause from the mostly neutral Merseyside crowd as he replaced Fernandinho at the start of the second half.
Tite wasn't getting carried away, though. Luka Modric was excellent at the tip of their three-man central midfield, regularly attacking the final third and putting pressure on the opposition's back-line.
"It is attractive to watch him play again, he is special, one of the best in the world", Modric said.
Roberto Firmino: "I'm very happy to play and score at home [Anfield], helping the team earn the victory". Brazil "improved in the second half after Neymar made the difference".
Since Tite's appointment in June 2016, the captain's armband has been rotated and against Croatia, Gabriel Jesus became the 15th player - in full internationals - to lead the side under the current regime.
"When I saw the ball hit the net I only thought of those that helped me, Dr Lasmar, my family, friends". "I always respect his [Tite's] opinion (regarding his dispute with Jesus for a spot in the Starting XI)". "Not as much as a wide player, he's better though the middle".
Until Neymar stepped onto the pitch it was Croatia which had the best opportunities in a match that seemed headed for a boring draw.
DefenderDejan Lovren had the best chance to open in a header that grazed Brazilgoalkeeper Alisson's right post after a corner.
When Fernandinho went off, Coutinho played a greater role and Brazil's game improved.
But Brazil coach Tite had announced his intention to use Neymar against Croatia, with the Brazilians having just one more warm-up game - against Austria in Vienna on June 10 - in which his asset can gain much-needed game-time.
Tite did not confirm the move but said: "Our orientation is for them [players] to solve [transfers] as quickly as possible so they keep their head and effort focused on Brazil".
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