Gilette Brasil Global Tour
 
Played
June 3, 2018 3:00 PM BST
Anfield — Liverpool
Referee:‬ M. Oliver‎
Attendance:‬ 54000‎
 
69′ Neymar Jr.
 
 

Brazil 2 Croatia 0: Neymar makes decisive return

In his first appearance since February 25, Neymar scored a superb goal to help Brazil see off Croatia.

Joe Wright

Neymar on his return to action for Brazil against Croatia
Getty Images

Neymar scored a superb opening goal in his first match since February as Brazil defeated Croatia 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday.

The Paris Saint-Germain star came on at half-time and blasted home in front of the Kop with 69 minutes gone, four years on from his double against the same opponents at the 2014 World Cup, before Roberto Firmino added a late second.

Neymar's strike was a rare moment of quality in a match in which both sets of players seemed eager to keep injury risks to a minimum, with less than two weeks to go until the start of this year's World Cup finals.

Brazil head to Russia as one of the favourites but this was a largely flat display, despite Tite choosing to start Gabriel Jesus, Willian and Philippe Coutinho, making his first appearance at the stadium since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona in January.

Indeed, Croatia had arguably the better of the chances before Neymar produced his moment of magic, collecting Coutinho's pass and dancing into space before finishing from close range in his first appearance since surgery on a broken foot.

Firmino struck in the dying seconds to cap a successful outing for Brazil, who face just one more friendly with Austria next Sunday before their World Cup opener against Switzerland on June 17.

Brazil, in their first visit to Merseyside since 1995, started on the front foot but almost fell behind 14 minutes in when Liverpool's Dejan Lovren headed a corner inches wide.

Andrej Kramaric caught Thiago Silva with a careless high foot and almost capitalised on the centre-back's struggle to shake off the knock, robbing him of possession before shooting straight at Alisson.

There were three bookings in a surprisingly feisty first half and Neymar's first involvement off the bench saw him side-step a potentially painful lunge from Lovren, who was trying to halt his run.

Brazil were finding it hard to fashion chances despite having close to 69 per cent of the ball, with Alisson again forced into action to parry Ante Rebic's header, as both coaches took the opportunity to make further changes to their sides.

That was until Tite's men suddenly exploded into life 69 minutes in. Willian found Coutinho in space, he slid the ball to Neymar and the PSG man did the rest, facing up to Sime Vrsaljko before cutting onto his right foot and blasting high into the net.

Coutinho earned a warm reception from the Anfield crowd as he was replaced late on by Fred, who has been tipped to complete a move to Manchester United in the coming days.

It was a current Liverpool hero who sealed a stylish end to the match, though, Firmino chesting down Casemiro's flighted pass before lifting a neat finish over Danijel Subasic with practically the last kick of the game.

Brazil

-
Alisson
Goalkeeper
-
Danilo
Defender
12
Marcelo
Defender
60′
4
Thiago Silva
Defender
22
Miranda
Defender
65′
16
Casemiro
Midfielder
93′
7
Paulinho
Midfielder
25
Fernandinho
Midfielder
40′ 46′
-
Gabriel Jesus
Striker
60′
22
Willian
Midfielder
82′

Croatia

1
Danijel Subasic
Goalkeeper
14
Sime Vrsaljko
Defender
87′
17
Domagoj Vida
Defender
5
Dejan Lovren
Defender
22
Vedran Corluka
Defender
52′
4
Ivan Rakitic
Midfielder
78′ 83′
-
Milan Badelj
Midfielder
61′
19
Luka Modric
Midfielder
58′
14
Ivan Perisic
Midfielder
38′
-
Ante Rebić
Striker
64′
-

Substitutes

12
Cássio
Goalkeeper
-
Ederson Moraes
Goalkeeper
3
Pedro Geromel
Defender
3
Filipe Luis
Defender
60′
15
Marquinhos
Defender
65′
-
Fagner
Defender
20
Douglas Costa
Midfielder
-
Fred
Midfielder
82′
-
Taison
Striker
82′
11
Neymar Jr.
Striker
46′ 69′
22
Roberto Firmino
Midfielder
60′ 93′

Substitutes

-
Lovre Kalinic
Goalkeeper
17
Ivan Strinic
Defender
-
Tin Jedvaj
Defender
87′
-
-
19
Josip Pivarić
Defender
8
Mateo Kovačić
Midfielder
58′
-
Marcelo Brozović
Midfielder
61′
-
Filip Bradarić
Midfielder
83′
9
18
Mario Mandzukic
Midfielder
-
Marko Pjaca
Striker
64′

Coach/Manager

-
Tite
Coach
 
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match