Neymar scores stunner for Brazil on injury return

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Neymar, who also withstood a few challenges in the game, received the ball from midfielder Philippe Coutinho in the 68th minute and dribbled past Croatia defenders Sime Vrsaljko and Duje Caleta-Car.

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

"He will have to go through stages - he is going to have his ups and downs but by the third, fourth or fifth game he will be back to his level". "I expected much less, because it is a process", Tite told reporters after the game.

Wearing the number 10 shirt, made famous by Pele, Neymar's popularity soared after he led Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal win in Rio in 2014.

Tite said there was no doubt that Neymar gives them something extra but said that needed to be kept in perspective.

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The forward's ability to create chances for himself and open up defences adds some unpredictability to the Brazil attack and after a goalless first half on Sunday they looked more risky with the former Barcelona man on the field. "Then he will have his normal standard", Tite said.

"I've watched him play against Roma, he has tons of virtues and qualities, he might come on at any given moment".

The Brazilian made it look like he wasn't coming back from a three-month injury.

Roberto Firmino: "I'm very happy to play and score at home [Anfield], helping the team earn the victory". After Casemiro put the ball in the penalty box, Firmino controlled with his chest and sent the ball over Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to step up his challenge for a starting position in the team.

Until Neymar stepped onto the pitch it was Croatia who had the best opportunities in a match that seemed headed for a boring draw.

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Croatian defender Dejan Lovren - also playing at his home ground - almost gave his country the lead when he headed just over from a corner.

When Fernandinho went off, Coutinho played a greater role and Brazil's game improved.

Croatia are set to retain their tag as perennial dark horses heading into the World Cup after proving to be formidable opponents for one of the tournament's standout favourites.

Tite did not confirm the move but said: "Our orientation is for them (players) to solve (transfers) as quickly as possible so they keep their head and effort focused on Brazil".

Neymar's return to the pitch came as a big boost to Brazil ahead of their World Cup campaign, which begins on June 17 against Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don.

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