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Neymar and Willian shine as Brazil beats France 3-1

Paris: Striker Neymar scored his 43rd international goal and midfielder Willian set up two as Brazil beat France 3-1 on Thursday in another step in rebuilding its credibility.It was France's first defeat since last year's

India TV News Desk [ Updated: March 27, 2015 7:10 IST ]
neymar and willian shine as brazil beats france 3 1
neymar and willian shine as brazil beats france 3 1

Paris: Striker Neymar scored his 43rd international goal and midfielder Willian set up two as Brazil beat France 3-1 on Thursday in another step in rebuilding its credibility.

It was France's first defeat since last year's World Cup, where it lost to Germany in the quarterfinals. Brazil remains unbeaten since hosting that tournament, where it lost 7-1 to Germany in a semifinal shocker and was humbled 3-0 by the Netherlands in the third-place match.

"I'm trying to give the players confidence after the World Cup, and I'm trying to find a balance," Brazil coach Dunga said. "We played well and played with speed. We kept our shape well, we were compact. We made some mistakes, but once we got our balance right we were able to win."

Neymar latched onto Willian's clever pass behind the defense before rifling a quick and powerful shot into the roof of the net nearly an hour in. The fine finish was far removed from his sloppy shooting for Barcelona in Sunday's clasico, where he squandered chances, including one from four meters out.

After defender Raphael Varane headed France ahead in the 21st, midfielder Oscar equalized just before halftime with a crisp shot.

With Brazil pouring forward, midfielder Luiz Gustavo made it 3-1 in the 69th when he headed in Willian's corner.

"It was a tough defeat. They punished us for our mistakes and they're very quick up front," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "We knew we were up against a good side. We need to be sharper, more efficient."

The Brazilians are preparing for the Copa America in June, and have one remaining friendly, against Chile, on Sunday.

France, as host of next year's European Championship, is already qualified, and has only friendlies until then.

"Brazil is preparing for the Copa America, but our objectives are further away. It's good to be put in a difficult situation, we'll learn from it," Deschamps said. "We fought hard against a quality side. We struggled to get our game going in attack, although we did well from set-pieces. We could have done better, especially in terms of our passing."

France striker Karim Benzema should have scored in the seventh minute when he was left unmarked at the back post following a corner, but his powerful header from three meters out was somehow clawed away by goalkeeper Jefferson.

Neymar went close in the 20th when his curling strike from the edge of the penalty forced a fine save from Steve Mandanda.

A minute later, Varane timed his run perfectly to meet Mathieu Valbuena's corner from the left with a powerful downward header that Jefferson could not get a hand to.

France was caught out in the 40th when forward Firmino was given too much time to reach a loose ball, and prodded it through to Oscar, who beat Mandanda with a low shot to the left.

Mandana had a busy night, and dived low to his right to palm away Gustavo's shot from 20 meters as Brazil began the second half confidently.

After Neymar's goal, the game opened up more.

Varane just failed to turn in a free kick; Benzema scooped a shot over; and forward Antoine Griezmann's long-range strike was acrobatically tipped wide by Jefferson.

After Mandanda tipped away Oscar's curling effort for a corner, Willian took it, and Gustavo was unmarked to head home.

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Group A

  • Teams Matches Wins Losses Points NRR
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