Brazil started their preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in fantastic fashion as they coasted to a 3-0 win over Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium.
The visitors were missing some key players, most notable of them being Neymar, who is battling to recover in time for the World Cup. But, Tite’s men started the game on the front foot, dominating the proceedings from the word go, although clear cut chances came few and far between.
Brazil’s best opportunity in the first half came in the seventh minute, when Gabriel Jesus’ shot was saved well by Igor Akinfeev. Thereafter though, Russia restricted the Selecao to half chances and long range efforts that were rather easy to save for their captain, Akinfeev.
On the other end of the pitch, cracks began to appear in the Brazilian defence towards the end of the first half as Aleksey Miranchuk forced Alisson into making two smart saves in quick succession. The Lokomotiv Moscow attacker could have then put his side through into the lead, but he fluffed his lines from six yards out after being set up by Fedor Smolov.
The first-half ended goalless, but Brazil grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck moments after the break. In the second minute of the second half, a resurgent Douglas Costa initiated a swift counter attack, finding Willian on the right flank, who squared the ball first time towards Paulinho.
But, the Barcelona attacker’s tame shot was saved by Akinfeev, who had to react quickly once again five minutes later. But, Brazil wouldn’t be denied again as a short corner saw Thiago Silva force the Russian captain into a save, with Miranda tapping in the rebound from two yards.
With the Russian organisation and defence finally broken, the floodgates seemed to have opened. Just past the hour mark, Paulinho was pulled down in the penalty area by Aleksandr Golovin when clean through on goal, and Philippe Coutinho, who was in his elements all through his stint, coolly converted from the spot.
The game was finally put to bed midway through the second half as the profligate Paulinho finally scored following some brilliant work by Willian, who chipped the ball towards the midfielder to head it into an empty net.
Russia had very little answer after that, although they did come close when Miranda and Thiago Silva combined to clear the ball off the line twice. The game ended 3-0 in Brazil’s favour, with Tite & co. beginning their preparation for the World Cup in ideal fashion. They next face Germany in a friendly on Tuesday, while Russia will host France.