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Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho Lead Brazil Past Austria

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 10, 2018

Brazil's forward Neymar celebrates scoring with teammates during the international friendly footbal match Austria vs Brazil in Vienna, on June 10, 2018. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)
JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Brazil cruised to a 3-0 win over Austria on Sunday in Vienna as goals from Gabriel Jesus, Neymar and Philippe Coutinho gave Tite's side victory in their final friendly before the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Neymar made his first start since November and doubled Brazil's lead after Jesus had curled home the opener. Roberto Firmino and Coutinho then combined for the third to ensure Brazil head to Russia in great form.

  

No Injury Lay-off Here, Neymar Embarrasses Dragovic

Neymar made his first start since returning from foot surgery and showed the long lay-off has not affected his form.

The Paris Saint-Germain star appeared as a substitute in Brazil's last friendly win over Croatia in early June and found the back of the net on Sunday.

Neymar had been quiet for most of the match, apart from being frequently fouled by Austria, but he showed delightful footwork to score his team's second goal.

Willian picked out the 26-year-old in the penalty area, and Neymar sat Aleksandar Dragovic down with some great skill before scoring.

Former midfielder Stuart Holden noted how well his comeback has gone:

Stuart Holden @stuholden

Neymar doing Neymar things. Returns from injury layoff and scores against Croatia in 1st game and now vs Austria in 2nd. Doesn’t seem to be a lack of sharpness!

Since returning to action, Neymar has looked sharp and shown no signs of rust. His two goals in two games will increase his confidence, and he looks to be heading to the World Cup in top form.

       

Casemiro Vital to Brazil's World Cup Bid

Brazil are known for their flair and attacking players such as Neymar, Jesus and Coutinho, but one of their most important players is defensive midfielder Casemiro.

The Real Madrid man highlighted once again just how important he is to the team and how he will prove crucial to their hopes of winning the tournament in Russia.

Selecao Brasileira explained why he's so important:

Seleção Brasileira @BrazilStat

Casemiro is so important for this Brazil side. Doing a tremendous job both defensively, and helping move the ball forward. He gives a lot of freedom to both Coutinho and Paulinho. I'd honestly have this midfield trio vs Switzerland, come next Sunday. #Russia2018

Former Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva said he's one of the best in the world in his position, per Indy Football:

Indy Football @IndyFootball

Gilberto Silva: "For me, Casemiro is one of the best, if not the best in the defensive midfield position. With Casemiro they have someone who holds the position and protects the back four. It frees up the attacking players." https://t.co/9YdXr8fdIh

Casemiro heads into the World Cup fresh from winning his fourth UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, yet he could end the summer with another medal.

   

Jesus Can Pip Neymar to the Golden Boot

Jesus opened the scoring with a brilliantly curled finish after the ball broke to him in the penalty area. There was a suspicion the goal might have been offside, but Jesus finished it off in any case in some style.

The Manchester City man had been having a quiet game up until that point but produced the goods when it mattered to score his 10th international goal in 17 appearances.

He's also Brazil's top goalscorer under Tite, as shown by journalist Fernando Duarte:

Fernando Duarte @Fernando_Duarte

Jesus is Brazil's top scorer under Tite: 10 goals in 17 games, ahead of Neymar (8) and Paulinho (7).

There's real competition in the Brazil attack between Jesus and Roberto Firmino, but the Manchester City man tends to perform the better of the pair for the national team.

Neymar is the superstar of the side and one of the favourites to win the Golden Boot in Russia. However, Jesus looks sharp and is in a good position to pip his team-mate to the top scorer award.

           

Coutinho Looks Ready to Light Up the World Cup

Coutinho curled home Brazil's third goal after linking brilliantly with former Liverpool team-mate Firmino and looked a threat all afternoon.

The Barcelona star also hit the crossbar with a powerful strike moments after his goal and forced goalkeeper Heinz Lindner into a good save with a shot from range in the first half.

Firmino also enhanced his chances of game time in Russia with a great assist after coming on as a substitute.

Muhammad Butt at Squawka noted why Coutinho is so dangerous:

Muhammad Butt @muhammadbutt

Coutinho just ruthlessly explodes from midfield. Brazil can be stodgy at times but they got a looooot of match-winners.

Coutinho had a roller coaster season, leaving Liverpool in January and heading to Barcelona where he helped win the league and cup double while his former team reached the Champions League final.

All eyes will be focused on Neymar in Brazil, but Coutinho's shooting ability and the way he links with his team-mates make him well-placed to light up the World Cup.