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Brazil Survives Nervous Opening to Rout Panama

Following a nervous opening 25 minutes, World Cup favorite Brazil swept aside Panama, 4-0, at the Serra Dourada stadium in Goiania on Tuesday. The home team was made to pay for its uneven start, as the likes of Neymar and Oscar were booed for some poor touches, but a classic 26th-minute free-kick from Neymar calmed both the team and the crowd down as Brazil came out comfortably on top in the end.

"In the first 20 or 25 minutes things didn't go well for us,” Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. “The defense and the attack were too separated and we couldn't get a sequence of passes together. After the goal we improved. But things could have been different if we had played against a team that was at a higher level."

That said, Scolari added: "It was a valid test. We have to understand that we haven't played together for nearly three months and we only had seven days to prepare so far. You have to take that into consideration. We didn't play well in the beginning but I liked the team's performance during the rest of the match."

Despite scoring the opening goal and creating Brazil’s third and fourth, Neymar was not satisfied with his performance. "I'm still not ready. I got tired there at the end," the Barcelona forward said. "Little by little in practice I'm improving and getting better physically. There are still nine days left [before the opening game against Croatia]."

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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