Neymar inspires Brazil over Portugal

Reuters

Thu, Sep 12, 2013 - Page 18

Brazil survived an early scare and some physical tackling to beat Portugal 3-1 in a friendly in Boston which confirmed their early status as one of the favorites to win the World Cup on home soil next year.

The five-time world champions were inspired by Neymar, who had a hand in all three goals after Brazil had gone behind to an opportunist strike from Raul Meireles.

The young Barcelona striker was singled out by Portuguese defenders for some rough treatment early on, but his passes led to goals for Thiago Silva, who headed home his corner kick, and Jo, who bundled the ball home from close range after Maxwell had pushed a Neymar pass across the front of goal.

Between those two scores, the former Santos player scored a brilliant individual goal that started when he ran at defenders from 40 meters out and culminated with an unstoppable shot from inside the penalty box.

The game was the biggest test for Brazil since they demolished world champions Spain to win the Confederations Cup in July.

They made just one change from the side that beat Australia 6-0 last weekend, with Maxwell replacing the injured Marcelo.