The Telegraph
Thursday , June 5 , 2014
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Still have a long way to go: Luiz

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar tips the ball over the bar during a friendly against Panama, in Goiania, on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Goiania (Brazil): Brazil turned on an impressive second half performance in their drubbing of Panama on Tuesday but have a way to go before they are ready for their World Cup opener, according to manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Brazil struggled in the early minutes of their penultimate friendly until a goal from Neymar in the 27th minute and another from Dani Alves set them on their way. Hulk scored his team’s third within seconds of the re-start and substitute Willian concluded the scoring in the 4-0 win.

“We still have a week-and-a-half left,” Scolari said, referring to Brazil’s World Cup opener. “There’s still a longway to go. But keep calm, we’ll get there. Today was reasonably better, but I am still demanding more.

“We had problems with the transition,” Scolari added. “It was off in the first 20 minutes of the match and things could have been different against a better team. “If I had to choose one half, it would be the second in which we showed more movement, better possession and more agility. I liked the end of the first half and the whole of the second.”

Scolari praised Neymar, one of the outstanding performers. In addition to scoring the game’s first goal, the 22-year-old Barcelona striker had a hand in two more and was at the fulcrum of Brazil’s play.

“Neymar is an athlete who does something different every day,” said Scolari. “He improvises well, he is quick, agile and any coach is going to talk him up.”

Neymar was injured twice this season and Scolari said he would play him in Friday’s friendly against Serbia to get him back in form.

“We’re working on that aspect,” he said. “If the opposition provokes him, he can’t react. The one that has to take action is the referee.”

Neymar brushed off the provocation and said he was ready to lead Brazil and deal with the weight of expectations. “I’ve been under pressure since I was a kid,” he said. “I am ready for it.”