Neymar and host nation Brazil warmed up for the festivities in June by thrashing South Africa 5-0 in Johannesburg on Wednesday to maintain their impressive recent form.
FC Barcelona’s club-record £48.6 million signing, who will be the poster boy for the five-time world champions at their own tournament this summer, scored on either side of half-time in Soccer City, completing the hat-trick in stoppage time. It's the second time that the playmaker has managed that feat for the Selecao after his treble against China two years ago.
It appeared as though the decision by Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari at the break to change the visitors’ kit from their famous yellow and blue design to an all-blue ensemble had the desired effect on his team, and especially Neymar, who went on to net twice more in the second period.
As a result, the precompetition favourites appear to be hitting peak form at exactly the right time, and now, with less than 100 days to go until the party begins in Rio, Brazil have won their last seven encounters in a row and 13 of the previous 14 friendlies they have contested since Big Phil replaced Mano Menezes as manager in November 2012.