LONDON - Teenage strike Neymar scored
twice on his third appearance for Brazil as the South Americans
outclassed Scotland 2-0 in a friendly played in something of a
carnival atmosphere at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The 19-year-old curled in a cool goal after 42 minutes and a
penalty after 77 as Brazil overwhelmed their British opponents
on a sunny afternoon in front of 53,082 fans in London.
Having lost their last two friendlies to Argentina and
France and with an eye on the Copa America in July, Brazil
looked for easier opposition to avoid a hat-trick of defeats.
In Scotland, who they had beaten seven times and drawn with
twice in their previous nine games, they had the ideal victims
for their 19th friendly on neutral soil in the last five years.
The five-times world champions, without strikers Alexandre
Pato and Nilmar through injury and Ronaldinho through
non-selection, handed a debut to Leandro Damiao.
He clipped the bar with an early header following a
prodigious leap but it was his strike partner Neymar who caught
the eye and not just for his 10cm-high Mohican haircut and his
glossy purple and lime green boots.
From the start he was keen to display his collection of
flicks, feints and clever turns but his tiny teenage frame found
things hard going in the face of some determined and sturdy
Something of an amalgam of Didier Drogba and Cristiano
Ronaldo, his theatrical responses and sulky indignation quickly
established him as the villain in the eyes of the Scotland fans.
However, his face lit up three minutes before half-time after
breaking the deadlock.
Andre Santos advanced up the left and found Neymar in an
unforgivable amount of space on the edge of the box. He took a
touch to kill the ball then stroked it round a defender and
beyond goalkeeper Allan McGregor, quickly following with an
extended jig in the company of half a dozen team mates.
It was the least Brazil deserved after dominating possession
in a one-sided half.
Lucio, out of favour since the team he captained in the 2010
World Cup were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Netherlands,
could not have asked for a more comfortable return as the centre-back and goalkeeper Julio Cesar barely broke sweat despite the
Within seconds of the restart, Neymar burst through the
Scottish defence and grazed the bar with a fizzing 25-metre
shot, McGregor had to make a scrambling double save and Ramires
blazed horribly over the bar from 10 metres.
Scotland finally forced a corner after an hour, greeted with
delirium by their success-starved fans, but in keeping with the
gulf in class, Charlie Adam's flag kick barely left the ground.
Coach Mano Menezes handed another debut to the highly rated
18-year-old Lucas, who teamed up with Neymar to such devastating
effect to help Brazil win the South American under-20
championship last month.
His first touch sent Neymar into the box and when his dummy
led to him being tripped by Adam, Neymar got up to stroke home
Lucas gave a glimpse of his talent with two scintillating
runs in the dying minutes, the second of which handed fellow
substitute Jonas a glorious chance for the third goal, which he
blasted high over the bar.
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