Brazil shuts out Panama in last match before Cup

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Brazil shuts out Panama in last match before Cup

Brazil turned on an impressive second-half performance in their drubbing of Panama on Tuesday but have a ways to go before they are ready for their World Cup opener, according to Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Brazil struggled in the early minutes of their penultimate friendly until a goal from Neymar in the 27th minute and another from Dani Alves with 13 minutes left in the half set them on their way.

Hulk scored his team’s third goal within seconds of the restart and substitute Willian concluded the scoring during a 4-0 win that Brazil dominated.

“We still have a week and a half left,” Scolari, referring to Brazil’s World Cup opener, told reporters after the match. “There’s a good way to go. But keep calm, we’ll get there. Today was reasonably better, but I am still demanding more.

“We had problems with the transition,” Scolari added. “It was off in the first 20 minutes of the match and things could have been different against a better team.

“If I had to choose one half it would be the second in which we showed more movement, better possession and more agility. I liked the end of the first half and the whole of the second.”

Scolari praised Neymar, one of the day’s outstanding performers. In addition to scoring the game’s first goal, the 22-year-old Barcelona striker had a hand in two more and was at the fulcrum of Brazil’s play all afternoon.

“Neymar is an athlete who does something different every day,” said Scolari. “He improvises well, he is quick, agile and any coach is going to talk him up.”

Neymar was injured twice this season, his first in Europe, and Scolari said he would play him in Friday’s friendly against Serbia to get him back into form.

The Panamanian players sought out Neymar after the final whistle for souvenir photographs, but when the ball was in play they did not spare him and Scolari warned his young star he cannot get caught up in incidents.

“We’re working on that aspect,” he said. “If the opposition provokes him he can’t react, the one that has to take action is the referee.”

Neymar brushed off the provocations and said he was ready to lead Brazil and deal with the weight of expectations.

“I’ve been under pressure since I was a kid,” he said. “I am ready for it.”

Brazil will open the World Cup, the first to be played in Brazil since 1950, against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12.


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