Gabriel Jesus relishing chance to fight with Firmino for Brazil starting spot

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Following Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Croatia, the Man City forward revealed the “healthy competition” behind the scenes for the Selecao attackers

Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus claims he is relishing the chance to compete with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino for a starting role in Brazil’s World Cup finals campaign.

The 21-year-old captained Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Croatia in their first pre-World Cup friendly at Anfield on Sunday, in which goals from Firmino and Neymar saw off the Russia 2018 dark horses.

Firmino came on as a substitute to replace Jesus for the final half an hour and the Liverpool striker sealed the victory with a goal in added-time with a chip over the goalkeeper from close range.

After the game, Jesus took time to praise his fellow forward and spoke of the friendly rivalry that is brewing between his team-mates for a starting place.

“I’m very happy for him, for the national team and for all of us Brazilians, it’s good to have healthy competition,” he told reporters in the mixed zone.

“He had an excellent season I had only a good season due to my injury. But that happens, and I congratulate him.

“I am very happy that he could score, and it is like this if he is doing good, I will work to be even better.

“That’s a great thing to have, this healthy competition for the national team.”

Brazil’s star man Neymar made his return from injury off the bench, having missed over three months of action due to surgery on a broken foot.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward showed no signs of rustiness and he was the one who opened the scoring in the 69th minute after some of his trademark footwork and a powerful finish from inside the area.

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Brazil play their penultimate game before the finals begin against Austria in Vienna on Sunday, which kicks off at 3pm UK time (12pm US ET) at the Ernst Happel Stadion.

Tite’s side open their World Cup 2018 campaign against Switzerland on Sunday June 17 in Rostov, which kicks off at 7pm UK time (2pm US ET).

Brazil will then face Costa Rica on June 22 before coming up against Serbia on June 27 in their final game in Group E.

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