'Neymar will play second half' - Brazil star to start from bench against Croatia

Neymar Brazil 2017-18
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Both the PSG star and Roberto Firmino will start Sunday's Anfield match as subs as the Selecao gear up for the World Cup

Neymar is set to make his first competitive appearance since February after being confirmed as a Brazil substitute for Sunday's clash against Croatia. 

A broken metatarsal spelled the end of the striker's season at Paris Saint-Germain, after impressing with a glut of goals in Ligue 1 following his world-record switch from Barcelona. 

Brazil coach Tite nevertheless included him in the Selecao's World Cup preparation, which kicks off at the weekend with an encounter at Liverpool's home ground Anfield. 

And Neymar now looks set to rack up his first minutes in more than three months in the friendly. 

"Neymar? He'll start on the bench because he's still recovering, and will come on half-time because we're preparing as a team," Tite told reporters in Saturday's press conference. 

"I don't know yet who'll come off for him, he has to be our star player but the others have to shine as well."

Joining him on the bench will be Roberto Firmino, who is coming off the back of a fine season with Liverpool but will not start in front of his home stadium. 

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus will instead get the first chance to shine in the battle to claim Brazil's hotly contested centre-forward spot. 

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"Last match I told you that [Roberto] might have come in, there's competition among them and Gabriel is performing terrifically, but Firmino is putting pressure on him too," Tite added.

"I've watched him play against Roma, he has tons of virtues and qualities, he might come on at any given moment. Not as much as a wide player, he's better though the middle."

After Croatia, Brazil face Austria in their final pre-World Cup friendly before taking on Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia in Group C in Russia.