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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

World Cup 2018: Neymar and his Brazil teammates land in Russia

South American side landed in early hours in Sochi buoyant after beating Austria 3-0 in final warm-up match

Brazil arrived in Russia on Monday hungry to make amends for their World Cup humiliation in 2014 with Neymar apparently fighting fit.

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 curtain-raiser between the hosts and Saudi Arabia but holders Germany are due to arrive on Tuesday.

The atmosphere is low-key ahead of the opening match at Moscow's imposing 80,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium.

Russia was a disputed choice when it was handed the World Cup in a closely watched 2010 vote that has since been tainted by bribery charges and the tournament takes place against a background of international tensions.

Russia and the West have engaged in a major wave of tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions since London accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain in March.

Brazil's 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.

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Read more on World Cup 2018:

Meet the Emirati World Cup referee who kept Stoichkov and Ronaldo in check

Lowdown: Guides, predictions, podcasts, galleries and where to watch in UAE

Golden Boot: Contenders beyond likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Maradona, Parreira, Cannavaro: World Cup winners with UAE connections

Quaresma, Berg, Tite, Cuper: Players and managers with UAE links at cup

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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 - only Pele and Ronaldo have more goals for their country.

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

Brazil, who crashed out of the last World Cup on home soil in a humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany, start their campaign against Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday.