Brazil 2-0 Scotland
Sunday, March 27, 2pm
Goals: Neymar 42, 77 (pen)
By Giuseppe Muro at Emirates Stadium
A brace from highly-rated 19-year-old Neymar gave Brazil a 2-0 win over a stubborn Scotland side on a glorious Sunday afternoon in north London.
The Santos man scored either side of half time to give the five-time world champions their fourth-successive victory at their London 'home'. A wonderful curling effort just before the break was followed by a penalty 12 minutes from time as the Brazilian-based teenager enhanced his reputation.
This kid looks like a star of the future.
On the first day of British summertime, Emirates was bathed in sunshine more reminiscent of the beaches of Rio. The emergence of Neymar, the weather and 50,000-plus fanatics made for an afternoon to remember.
Former Gunners like Gilberto and Julio Baptista had graced the five previous internationals at Emirates and, while there were no Arsenal connections this afternoon, there was a wealth of Premier League stars on show. New Chelsea favourite Ramires lined up for Brazil alongside Liverpool regular Lucas in midfield. David Luiz started on the bench along with Tottenham’s Sandro.
Brazil are preparing for the Copa America in July, but coach Mano Menezes admitted pre-match that he was also using the outing as a chance to look at his options for the 2012 London Olympics.
For Craig Levein’s Scotland, Charlie Adam, who was on the receiving end of a 6-0 drubbing when he visited Emirates with Blackpool earlier in the season, started in midfield.
Three-time World Player of the Year and guest of honour for the afternoon, Ronaldo, was introduced to the crowd as the carnival atmosphere outside slowly filtered into the ground. Rousing renditions of the Brazilian national anthem and Flower of Scotland were bellowed out as the teams lined up in the sunshine. And Emirates was a cacophony of noise as the Tartan army and Canarinho supporters greeted English referee Howard Webb‘s opening whistle.
The stadium was dissected in two - a sea of navy blue in the Clock End, yellow in abundance on the North Bank.
A ‘meaningless’ friendly this clearly wasn’t as Scott Brown and Andre Santos exchanged 'pleasantries' in the opening five minutes.
The first sight of goal was thumped high over the crossbar by Lucas - much to the delight of the vocal Scottish contingent at that end.
There were neat flicks aplenty early on but the Scottish defence, marshalled by custodian Allan McGregor, were standing firm.
Ramires headed over as the ambience was raised yet further when bagpipes sounded out to rouse the Scots. In reply, Brazilian fans started a Mexican wave which failed to really materialise – much like the majority of the attacks during the first 20 minutes.
Elano’s corner was powerfully met by the head of Leandro Damiao, one of the Olympic hopefuls, who skimmed the top of McGregor’s crossbar with Scottish defenders all looking at each other.
That same combination were at it again minutes later. This time, the former Manchester City man’s centre was headed wide at the back post.
A neat give-and-go on the right created space for the marauding Lucas, who got to the byline before his cut-back was put behind by what looked like the hand of Gary Caldwell.
If the Brazilians were surprised at the non-award of a penalty, they were even more bemused when a Scotland goal kick was given by the referee.
A Seleção had the upper hand on the pitch but the Scots were shading things in the stands.
West Brom’s James Morrison, sporting a large plaster on the left of his forehead, embarrassed Dani Alves not once but twice before the Barcelona man hauled him down on the left touchline.
From the resulting free kick, Adam’s left-footed in-swinger was diverted wide by the head of Steven Whittaker.
Scotland looked to be heading into half time on level terms but Neymar’s curling effort meant it was advantage Brazil two minutes before the break.
The overlapping Andre Santos crossed first time for the Santos man, who took one touch before bending the ball round the outstretched left hand of McGregor and into the far-right corner.
The Brazilians celebrated as only they know how. It wasn’t quite Bebeto and co in Italia ‘90 but, nevertheless, Menezes’ side went in a goal up.
Barely 30 seconds into the second period, Neymar’s fizzing effort skimmed the bar. Moments later, an errant goal kick from McGregor nearly let in Ramires but the Rangers stopper recovered well.
The Scots responded by enjoying a two-minute spell of ‘Ole’ football, much to the amusement of the enthusiastic crowd.
Ramires blazed horribly over from Alves’ inch-perfect cut-back and then Damiao rose unmarked to head wide from another Elano corner.
With David Narey’s heroics in 1982 still strong in the memory, Scotland fans harboured hopes of an upset - or at least a goal - as the influential Adam drilled over from range.
As is usually the case in these games, a large numbers of changes scattered throughout the second half disrupted the flow.
Then, with 12 minutes to go, Neymar’s second put Brazil out of reach.
The unfortunate Adam clipped the No 11 inside the area and referee Webb had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Neymar stepped up as if he was he was playing with his friends on the beach and casually sent McGregor the wrong way to put his side two goals ahead.
The match-winner was replaced to a standing ovation in injury time and the yellow half of Emirates went home happy.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Lucio, Thiago Silva, Andre Santos, Lucas (Sandro 86), Elano (Elias 82), Ramires, Jadson (Lucas Rodriguez 72), Neymar (Renato Augusto 89), Leandro Damiao (Oliveira 78). Subs not used: Victor, Maicon, Luisao, David Luiz, Henrique, Jefferson.
Scotland: McGregor, Hutton, Caldwell, Berra (Danny Wilson 73), Crainey, Adam (Snodgrass 78), Brown, Morrison (Cowie 90), McArthur (Bannan 56), Whittaker (Commons 64), Miller (Mackail-Smith 87). Subs not used: Gordon, Hanley, Maguire, Davidson, Mark Wilson, Bell.
Attendance: 53,087Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source