Home Sports World Cup: Brazil thrash Panama 4-0 in friendly match

World Cup: Brazil thrash Panama 4-0 in friendly match


World Cup hosts Brazil strolled to a 4-0 win over Panama in their penultimate warm-up on Tuesday, goals from Neymar, Daniel Alves, Hulk and Willian securing the stroll.

Brazil barely had to break out of third gear in seeing off limited opponents as Neymar, with his 31st international goal, set the ball rolling, rifling in a free-kick for the opener on the half hour.

Alves drove in the second five minutes before the interval and a cheeky Neymar backheel was enough to pave the way for Hulk to slot in the third early in the second period before Willian put the icing on the cake 17 minutes from time.

With only Friday’s friendly against Serbia to come before the Selecao meet Croatia in their World Cup opener on June 12 in Sao Paulo, 2002 title-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari seized the chance to use several second string players.

He replaced Barcelona’s Alves with veteran Maicon at the break and sent Henrique on for David Luiz midway through the second period of the game in the provincial city of Goiania.

Maxwell came on for Champions League winner Marcelo at the break, with Hernanes replacing Ramires also at half-time for the run-out against a side ranked 35 in the world but who have never reached the World Cup finals.

Willian came on for fellow Chelsea colleague Oscar on 63 minutes and Jo replaced Fred on the hour while Scolari left Paulinho, Fernandinho and skipper Thiago Silva back at squad headquarters outside Rio as they recover from knocks.

Scolari had called on his side to pull their socks up after a slovenly training session on Sunday and they responded after a quiet opening quarter of an hour.

Tejada picked up a yellow card for the visitors with a foul on Neymar and Brazil’s star man swiped his freekick high into the net to delight a 30,000 crowd.

The Barcelona starlet then crossed for Fred but the Scolari favorite directed a header off target.

Alves then smacked home the second with a low effort to all but break the visitors’ sagging resistence and allow Scolari the luxury of some major pack shuffling.

Neymar was not interested in allowing anyone game time at his expense, however, and it was his superbly weighted backheel which allowed Hulk to slot in a cool third with the outside of his boot.

Panama tried to respond with a Roberto Nurse header which Julio Cesar, finally called into action, tipped over.

Fred had time to send an effort high and wide before Brazil scored their fourth with Neymar feeding Maxwell, who found Willian for a routine finish from close range.

Maicon headed against the bar and Neymar fired just wide as Brazil continued to toy with their opponents before the final whistle saved the Panamanians from further embarrassment.

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