Neymar shines for Brazil

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But they could hardly be called lukewarm opponents.

Goal number 55 came after crashing in a superb goal as a second-half substitute versus Croatia at Anfield last weekend to seal a 2-0 victory.

The Paris St Germain forward scored his 55th global goal to go level with Romario and sit joint-third in Brazil's all-time scoring charts during their impressive victory.

Neymar's talents know no bounds in the eyes of Brazil head coach Tite after the superstar forward made a dazzling return to his starting line-up this afternoon.

Despite Brazil's chances looking up, coach Tite remains little-known outside his own country where he has spent almost entire career, coaching more than 10 teams, and including three stints at domestic club Corinthians where he made his name. But boy, did it work well.

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So, how have they managed that?

Among fans, similar levels of optimism were encountered. Spain are playing very well, and Germany are always strong. Brazil are certainly one of the top contenders for the title with a team filled with pace and quality.

Jose Mourinho has predicted a stunning World Cup final cliffhanger between Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and an Argentina team led by his great rival Lionel Messi.

Brazil are back! And boy can they play.

Costa is expected to be a backup for Neymar during the World Cup. At the time, Thiago was injury prone and seemingly burnt-out while Marquinhos was "flying".

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In a subplot to the main action in the final, the Portuguese manager tipped Brazil to get a degree of revenge over Germany for their humiliation four years ago by backing the Samba Boys to beat Die Mannschaft in the third-place playoff.

Make no mistake: Dani Alves will be missed by the Selecao, especially for his leadership and experience.

On Sunday, those in a bitterly divided land may put their differences to one side and finally unite in order to get behind a team reimagined under Tite and with a genuine chance of going all the way in Russian Federation.

Soon after Neymer's goal, which was set up by Chelsea' Willian, Philippe Courinho scored another cracker, after a slick one-two with former Liverpool team-mate Roberto Firmino.

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