Neymar makes spectacular return as Brazil beats Croatia

Neymar makes spectacular return as Brazil beats Croatia

Neymar makes spectacular return as Brazil beats Croatia

It took him just 21 minutes to make a stunning impression with a breathtaking individual goal to break the deadlock, before Liverpool favourite Roberto Firmino completed a 2-0 win in injury time.

Just last month Neymar admitted that he was anxious about the prospect of injury derailing another World Cup campaign.

Here's what we learned from the encounter.

Since Tite's appointment in June 2016, the captain's armband has been rotated and against Croatia, Gabriel Jesus became the 15th player - in full internationals - to lead the side under the current regime. Alves will be a big miss in Russian Federation.

Neymar made a much anticipated return to action when he was introduced in place of Fernandinho at half-time.

The most expensive player in the world has been sidelined since February 25, when he fractured a metatarsal and sprained his ankle playing for Paris St Germain in a French league match against Olympique de Marseille.

Three days after getting a reprieve from a 14-month doping ban, the Peruvian skipper showed World Cup Group C rivals Australia exactly how important he will be for La Blanquirroja when the two teams meet on June 27 (AEST).

That was until Tite's men suddenly exploded into life 69 minutes in.

Receiving a pass from Philippe Coutinho, Neymar cut into the area, beating Sime Vrsaljko and Duje Caleta-Car with impressive close control and dribbling, before burying a shot into the roof of the goal, via the crossbar, from the edge of the six-yard area. His balance was exquisite, the finish uncompromising.

Brazil's first match at the World Cup is on Sunday, June 17 as Tite's men open the tournament against Switzerland.

After his comeback on Sunday, Brazil's national team captured a video of Neymar exchanging shirts with Modric outside the dressing rooms at Anfield.

Neymar's goal was his 54th for his country and he needs one to reach Romario as the third most prolific Brazil striker of all time behind Pele and Ronaldo.

Tite has one of the deepest squads to choose from at this summer's World Cup, but some players are irreplaceable and Dani Alves certainly looks to fit that bill.

Neymar scored in Brazil's 2-0 win over Croatia. In truth, Croatia caused them plenty of problems as they competed well in the middle of the park for long periods.

Croatia captain Luka Modric was among many impressed with Neymar.

Brazil, in their first visit to Merseyside since 1995, started on the front foot but nearly fell behind 14 minutes in when Liverpool's Dejan Lovren headed a corner inches wide.

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