VIENNA-Neymar marked his return to the starting line-up with another brilliant goal as Brazil eased to a 3-0 win over Austria in Vienna on Sunday in their final friendly ahead of the World Cup.

Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho netted either side of Neymar's strike at the Ernst Happel Stadion, as the world's most expensive player confirmed his return to fitness following a foot operation three months ago.

It was an encouraging way for Tite's side to complete their preparations before their departure for their base in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi. The Brazilians were due to arrive there in the early hours of Monday, ahead of their opening game at the tournament against Switzerland next Sunday.

Neymar's goal was his 55th in a Brazil shirt, allowing him to draw level with Romario on his country's list of all-time leading scorers -- only the great Pele and Ronaldo have scored more goals for Brazil than the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

The 26-year-old had come off the bench to score in last weekend's 2-0 win over Croatia in Liverpool, his first appearance since suffering a foot fracture playing for PSG in February and then returning to his homeland for surgery.

He played 84 minutes in the Austrian capital after replacing Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho in the starting line-up, surviving a couple of bruising challenges from Austria's Watford defender Sebastian Proedl, who was booked in the second half.

Brazil, wearing black armbands in tribute to the country's tennis legend Maria Esther Bueno who died on Friday aged 78, had chances to go in front before Jesus opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Marcelo's long-range shot was blocked, but the ball fell to Jesus inside the area and the Manchester City striker took a touch before finishing beautifully past Heinz Lindner in the Austrian goal.

Jesus is Brazil's leading scorer under Tite's management, ahead of Neymar, who got his name on the scoresheet in the 63rd minute. It was a quite superb effort, the former Barcelona man controlling Willian's chipped pass on his thigh just inside the box and then leaving Austrian defender Aleksandar Dragovic on the floor with some delightful footwork before rolling the ball home. Tempers had flared just before that with the Brazilians taking exception to tasty tackles on Neymar and Coutinho. But their class told in the end as Neymar's goal was followed by a fine effort from Coutinho, who later also hit the bar from long range.

Spain fail to impress in

narrow Tunisia victory

Spain laboured to a narrow 1-0 victory over Tunisia in an underwhelming World Cup warm-up in Krasnodar on Saturday. The 2010 champions remain unbeaten under coach Julen Lopetegui, who took over 20 matches ago after the Roja's elimination from Euro 2016 in the last 16 at the hands of Italy.

Iago Aspas scored the only goal against fellow World Cup qualifiers Tunisia seven minutes from the end. But Lopetegui's search for a consistent centre-forward was made no clearer despite a solid showing from Brazil-born Diego Costa.

The Atletico Madrid forward set up Aspas's winner and was a nuisance throughout for the Africans' defenders. Spain dominated the ball but allowed Tunisia some good scoring chances.

Spain begin their Group B campaign against European champions Portugal on June 15 while Tunisia face England in Group G three days later.

France held 1-1 by US

Paul Pogba put in an improved performance but France looked flat in a 1-1 World Cup warm-up draw against the United States in Lyon on Saturday. Julian Green gave the US, who failed to make it to Russia, the lead on the stroke of half-time but teenage starlet Kylian Mbappe equalised for the hosts.

Pogba had been jeered a week ago in a 3-1 victory over Italy but it was his pass that teed up Mbappe to save face for the Euro 2016 finalists in a match they were expected to win. With perhaps one eye on their opening World Cup clash against Australia, 2-1 winners over Hungary earlier in the day, on June 16, France were pedestrian for long periods.

"We lacked a bit of juice. But we created enough chances to win," said coach Didier Deschamps on TF1. "But that's the way it goes, against a young United States team that was very generous, who didn't leave us a lot of space and tried to defend well."

Crucially, though, Pogba battled hard defensively, took charge offensively and played some clever passes. France will expect more of the same in Russia.

 

 

Results

Brazil     3-0          Austria

Spain     1-0          Tunisia

France  1-1          USA

Australia              2-1          Hungary

Morocco              3-1          Estonia

Serbia   5-1          Bolivia

Sweden               0-0          Peru

Denmark             2-0          Mexico

 

 

 

DÉCINES-CHARPIEU: USA's midfielder Julian Green scores a goal during the friendly match between France and USA.–AFP