All eyes were on Neymar when he came on for Fernandinho at halftime. He duly delivered as he came up with an individual piece of brilliance to give Brazil the lead on the 69th-minute mark. Firmino’s cool lob at the end secured a 2-0 victory for the Selecao.
Check out Neymar’s wonderful goal here-
World class goal from Neymar. pic.twitter.com/ngZwx6b4mN
— A. (@ElPrincipe6_) June 3, 2018
Croatia were the better side in the initial 10-15 minutes of the game and were unlucky not to be a goal ahead.
Both teams looked comfortable in possession but they lacked a cutting edge in the final third. Both sets of players were straying offside easily and there were quite a few notable poor first touches. All this only managed to disrupt the flow of the game that was there in the early stages.
Croatia forced the Brazilians into mistakes by sustaining a high press and putting pressure on the Brazilian defence. However, there weren’t any notable chances for Croatia as the match grew into the half.
However, after the 30-minute mark, the Brazilians were slowly coming into the game and Willian started looking ominous against Vida on the right. Brazil did get a few sighters but both teams went into the break scoreless.
With Neymar coming on at halftime, there was more venom in the Brazilian attack. They enjoyed the possession in the initial exchanges. Neymar had an effort saved by the opposition goalkeeper.
There was a huge cheer for Liverpool talisman Roberto Firmino who came on for Gabriel Jesus at the hour mark.
The opener finally came in the 68th minute. A stunning solo effort from Neymar. Coutinho fed the ball out to Neymar on the left-hand side. Neymar cut in, beat Vrsaljko with ease and fired an unstoppable effort in off the crossbar. It was Magical from Neymar and the perfect way to announce his return. Roberto Firmino added a second right at the death to secure Brazil’s victory. Casemiro played a delightful lofted pass over the Croatian defence which Firmino controlled beautifully, held off a defender and produced a stylish chip over the goalkeeper as his beloved Liverpool fans went wild.
It was a stop-start second half with numerous substitutions taking place and many players getting a good amount of minutes in before the final whistle.
The Croatians won’t be too disappointed with the scoreline, because there were moments where they kept good possession and played around the Brazilians, however they lacked the cutting edge. As far as the Brazilians are concerned, they will be satisfied by the result and look to build on this heading into the World Cup.
Croatia will face Senegal on Friday, while the Brazilians take on Austria on Sunday.