Neymar makes spectacular return as Brazil beats Croatia 2-0

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Brazil's clash with Croatia was an uneventful affair until Neymar, making his first appearance since February 25, broke the deadlock 69 minutes in with a superb goal. He then ran to hug Brazilian soccer confederation doctor Rodrigo Lasmar on the sidelines at Anfield.

"I feel at 80 percent of my capacity".

Brazil coach Tite said Neymar's return was "above the expected standard".

Croatia captain Luka Modric was among many impressed with Neymar.

Asked whether that would be his starting lineup if the World Cup began now, Tite said "Yes" three times.

He joined Jesus and Willian in attack, with Coutinho dropping into the midfield place vacated by Fernandinho.

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The sublime strike leaves Neymar on 54 goals for his national team, one behind Romario, who is third on the country's all-time list, and with only Pele and Ronaldo ahead of him in the Brazil record books. Brazil "improved in the second half after Neymar made the difference".

"Whoever Tite chooses, I'll respect it 100 per cent and I'm here when needed, to give my best for the team".

It was the Croatians, limbering up for a tough group involving Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland, who threatened first but an Ante Rebic chance was snuffed out by Thiago Silva.Also playing on home soil, the Croatian defender Dejan Lovren came close to snatching the lead when he headed inches over from a corner.

When Fernandinho went off, Coutinho played a greater role and Brazil's game improved.

Monday will be a rest day for the team and Brazilian media claimed midfielder Fred will be traveling to Manchester for medical tests before signing a deal with Manchester United. But that happens and I congratulate him.

Brazil's World Cup opener is on June 17 against Switzerland.

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