Neymar looks fit as Brazil land in Russia

Neymar of Brazil heads a ball during the friendly match against Austria in Vienna on Sunday, / Laszlo Balogh/ Getty Images
Neymar of Brazil heads a ball during the friendly match against Austria in Vienna on Sunday, / Laszlo Balogh/ Getty Images

Brazil arrived in Russia yesterday hungry to make amends for their World Cup humiliation in 2014 with Neymar apparently fighting fit, as Lionel Messi cast doubt over his international future.

The Brazilians landed in the early hours in Sochi, the Black Sea resort where they will be based, buoyant after beating Austria 3-0 in their final warm-up match.

Most of the favourites are now in Russia ahead of Thursday's opener between the hosts and Saudi Arabia, but holders Germany are due to arrive today.

The atmosphere is low-key ahead of the opening match at Moscow's imposing 80000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium.

Neymar, who broke a bone in his foot in February, marked his first start in more than three months by scoring in Sunday's easy victory in Vienna, while Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho also netted.

It was Neymar's 55th goal in a Brazil shirt, allowing him to draw level with Romario on his country's list of all-time leading scorers.

"I don't know Neymar's limits," Brazil coach Tite said. "His technical and creative capacity is impressive. When we get him in the last third of the field he is lethal."

Brazil start their campaign against Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.

Argentina captain Messi, one of the biggest stars in Russia, said his international future will be determined by his country's performance at the World Cup.

"It will depend on how far we go, how we're going to finish [at the finals]," Messi said in an interview with Spanish daily Sport.

"We've just lost three finals in a row, which has led to us going through some difficult moments with the press," added the Barcelona forward.

Argentina lost the 2014 World Cup final 1-0 to Germany after extra time, before suffering successive defeats by Chile on penalties at the Copa America in 2015 and 2016.

Messi, who will turn 31 during the World Cup, believes Spain, Brazil, Germany, France and Belgium are the leading contenders for the title.

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