Brazil cover Coutinho in eggs and flour for his birthday

Tanya Simon
June 13, 2018

"I don't know what Neymar's limit is", said Tite, whose team arrived early yesterday morning in Sochi where they will be based.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, were the surprise package four years ago, taking seven points from Italy, Uruguay and England, before losing in a penalty shootout to the Netherlands in the quarter finals.

And as soon as the final whistle of the tournament is blown at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, attention will shift to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, moved to November 21 through December 18 because of summer desert heat and compressed to 28 days because it is in the middle of the European club season. Their first choice right-back Dani Alves has been ruled out of the tournament with Danilo expected to start in his position.

"People are so excited in Brazil waiting for another win".

Neymar not only has to bear the hopes of 200 million fans on his slender shoulders, but also those of one of his country's biggest legends.

Before that magnificent effort, Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus had put Brazil 1-0 up, via a fine effort from inside the box.

Firmino's all-round game is perhaps more in keeping with Brazil's footballing ethos, but what this current side really calls out for is a pure goalscorer and Jesus more than fits the bill. He was signed by PSG for a whopping 222 million Euros.

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Santos won three straight league titles and the Copa do Brasil. He partners Luka Modric and Toni Kroos at Madrid. Casemiro, Paulinho and Fernandinho all possess above-average-to-excellent tackling skills, but are even better at cutting off angles to passing lanes left from the high press and reading where the threat of danger is on the counter-attack.

From baffling his companions on the streets of Brazil to leaving audiences awestruck in packed stadiums, Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior has been busy establishing himself as one of football's all-time greats.

Sunday's goal was a superb effort, the former Barcelona man controlling Willian's chipped pass on his thigh just inside the box and then leaving Austrian defender Aleksandar Dragovic on the floor with some delightful footwork before rolling the ball home.

Going into Russian Federation 2018, Brazil's golden boy is being charged with exorcizing the demons of that 7-1 humiliation against Germany four years ago, a game he agonizingly missed through injury.

He will be given the responsibility to lead Brazil's defence along with Miranda. When Brazil want to open the match up and go after an opponent, Fernandinho likely drops out to feature either Willian or Coutinho in the midfield three.

Neymar's popularity was rising and before long, FC Santos, the famous Brazilian club, came calling when he was still only 11 years old.

The Swiss, who threatened to force Portugal down the play-off route in qualifying, beat eventual champions Spain at the 2010 edition and took Argentina to extra time in the last 16 in Brazil but have yet to properly exceed expectations on the big stage.

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