LONDON: Neymar announced his readiness for the World Cup challenge with a fine individual goal as Brazil defeated Croatia 2-0 in a warm-up friendly.
In other preparation matches on Sunday Spain goalkeeper David de Gea made a rare error in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland and Peru captain Paolo Guerrero celebrated his reprieve from a doping ban by scoring twice in a 3-0 victory over Saudi Arabia.
Neymar missed most of the second half of the European season because of an ankle injury but the Paris Saint-Germain relished his return by coming off the substitutes’ bench to beat two defenders and fire home in the 69th minute at Anfield.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino sealed the win for coach Tite’s side in stoppage-time in a repeat of the Opening Match of the 2014 finals.
Spain were denied against Switzerland when Manchester United keeper De Gea’s dropped a soft shot from Stefan Lichtsteiner so Ricardo Rodriguez could equalise Alvaro Odriozola’s volley.
Spain coach Julen Lopetegui started without any players who had helped Real Madrid win last weekend’s Champions League final and Barcelona holding midfielder Sergio Busquets was a late absentee due to a stomach bug.
Lopetegui’s side had two-thirds of possession and looked in control of the game until De Gea’s mishap, although they lacked dynamism and were a far cry from the ruthless side who hammered Argentina 6-1 in their last game.
Guerrero struck Peru’s second and third goals as they outclassed fellow World Cup finalists Saudi Arabia in the Swiss town of St Gallen after Andre Carrillo had opened the scoring.
This was the 34-year-0ld’s first appearance since for Peru since the World Cup qualifier in Argentina last October when he tested positive for a cocaine byproduct — contained in a tea he drank and which he says he ingested unknowingly.
Last Thursday the Swiss Federal Court lifted temporarily a 14-month ban pending an appeal, clearing him to play in Russia.
Elsewhere Costa Rica defeated Northern Ireland 3-0 with two headed goals from corners and a strike from Joel Campbell.