In a major statement that Brazil will be ready to take on the world this summer, Felipe Scolari’s squad had little trouble with South Africa in a friendly at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday with a hat trick from Neymar, 5-0.
Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar got the scoring started in the 10th minute, when he accepted a fine through ball from Hulk and finished with a simple flick to put Brazil ahead.
After being denied in a golden opportunity in the 29th minute, Neymar would provide the next two goals. The Barcelona star scored with a strong, left-footed shot that skipped by 22-year-old goalkeeper Ronwen Williams in the 40th, and then opened the second half with a breakaway goal that exposed very questionable defense by the South Africans.
Fernandinho would add the fourth in 79th minute off a fantastic shot from well beyond the box, and Neymar would earn his hat trick in stoppage time to seal the victory.
The final score was clearly indicative of the dominance that Brazil displayed over the underdog South Africans. A strong overall effort helped Brazil control possession for most of the match, and the attack found a way to take advantage of their opportunities.
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Scolari sent out most of Brazil’s top players for the friendly in a glimpse of their likely squad for the 2014 World Cup.
As the host nation, there is a considerable amount of pressure to win the nation’s fifth World Cup title. Anything short of a dominant effort this summer would be a disaster for Brazil, who have failed to win since 2002.