Neymar made his return to the field in emphatic fashion on Sunday, scoring a brilliant goal in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Croatia. The game had been fairly uneventful in the first half, but then Neymar was subbed in. He took a ball from Philippe Coutinho out on the left, cut in, made a few moves past some Croatian defenders and then slammed the ball in off the crossbar. It was quite the way to make his return to the field after a long injury absence. Roberto Firmino added a second goal for Brazil. Neymar now has 54 goals and 33 assists in 84 games for Brazil, a staggering record considering Neymar is only 26. Brazil is one of the favorites of the World Cup, and they will need Neymar firing on all cylinders if they are to claim the trophy this year.
The USMNT was defeated 2-1 by Ireland in the second of this series of friendlies, the first one in Europe. The roster was a bit different than the Bolivia game, with veterans like DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood added to the squad and the starting lineup. Ireland started off the better side, but the U.S. team grew into the game and actually took the lead, with Bobby Wood scoring right before halftime. However they were unable to maintain that lead, and a couple of defensive mistakes in the second half allowed Ireland to come home with the win. The final U.S. game will be against France, which will be the toughest test of them all, but it will provide a nice test for this relatively young U.S. team.
Tough news for Nicklas Bendtner and Denmark, as he failed to recover from an injury he picked up with his club team a week ago and was thus dropped from Denmark’s squad. Bendtner did not play in Denmark’s draw with Sweden on Saturday. He tried to prove his fitness to coach Age Hareide, but it was determined that Bendtner would not be fit in time for the tournament. It is always tough when a player gets injured right before the World Cup, and sadly Bendtner is the latest player to join that list.
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