France 1-3 Brazil: Neymar and Willian shine in Paris

Neymar scored his 43rd international goal and midfielder Willian set up two as Brazil beat France 3-1 on Thursday in Paris.

For the South Americans, this was important to restore the country’s faith and to restore their credibility.

It was France’s first defeat since last year’s World Cup, where they lost to Germany in the quarterfinals. Brazil remain unbeaten since hosting that tournament, where they lost 7-1 to Germany in a semifinal shocker and were 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 defence 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 metres out.

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

With Brazil pouring forward, midfielder Luiz Gustavo made it 3-1 in the 69th minute 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.”

ELSEWHERE (Thursday)
Seven time African champions Egypt gave their new coach a winning start as unanswered two goals saw them past Equatorial Guinea in Cairo.

Radamel Falcao scored twice  for Colombia as they went to Bahrain and won 6-0.

Ivory Coast beat Angola 2-0 in Abidjan, with the African champions starting with 7 players who played in the final against Ghana.

* Oman 6 – 0 Malaysia
* Qatar 1 – 0 Algeria
* Iran 2 – 0 Chile
Story by Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith

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