Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Neymar Gives Philippe Coutinho The Treatment As The Latter Turns 26

The likes of Marcelo and Gabriel Jesus ambushing Coutinho during the morning training session at Brazil's World Cup camp and plastered the Barcelona star with eggs and flour. "Dreaming is not forbidden". The PSG talisman was at his brilliant best as he toyed around with defenders before scoring the second goal for Brazil after Gabriel Jesus scored the opener.

Brazil arrived in Russian Federation on Monday hungry to make amends for their World Cup humiliation in 2014 with Neymar apparently fighting fit.

His goal took him on to 55 from 85 caps and he was proud to move level with Romario as Brazil's third highest scorer, leaving him 22 behind record-holder Pele. Shortly after, the team flew to Sochi, its base for the tournament, as those back in their homeland reacted to a win which impressed and boosted expectations of winning an unprecedented sixth world title.

"Austria had quality and we knew it would not be easy". However, he was a different player in Vienna and managed to score his 10th goal in 17 games for Brazil.

In Vienna he even emulated Alves a bit by bombing forward and demanding the ball at moments when Brazil were inevitably attracted to attack down the left via Neymar and Coutinho. "We came into a game with lots of [physical] contact and had a great performance".

Recall that Mourinho last week tipped Gernot Rohr's men to finish second in Group D behind Argentina and face France in the second round, a repeat of their 2014 World Cup fixture at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha, Brasília. "We deserved the victory, we played very well", Coutinho said.

Brazil have lost only one game out of 20 since Tite was appointed in June 2016 and have regained their confidence which was shattered by the 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany at the last World Cup.

There was little let up after Austria captain Julian Baumgartlinger trod on his ankle in the third minute and Neymar joked the hosts' tactics at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion were more suited to mixed martial arts. "Today was another example that, mentally, we are maturing".

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