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Soccer-Neymar helps Brazil ease to win over Panama

Reuters

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GOIANIA, Brazil, June 3 (Reuters) - Brazil beat Panama 4-0 in their penultimate friendly before hosting the World Cup, with Neymar, Dani Alves, Hulk and Willian scoring the goals in a leisurely but convincing performance.

Panama showed plenty of adventure but they could not make any clear cut chances and the home side took the lead in the 27th minute when Neymar's sweetly-struck free kick beat the diving keeper from 20 metres.

Thirteen minutes later his Barcelona team mate Dani Alves doubled the lead with a low right-foot shot from just outside the box. Hulk scored the third within seconds of the re-start after running on to a brilliant Neymar backheel and slotting the ball home with the outside of his left foot.

Substitute Willian concluded the scoring when he fired home from inside the penalty area after more good work by Neymar.

"I think the result wasn't the important thing today, the important thing was playing, getting the team together again and getting back into form so that we're ready to get a result in the opening match," Dani Alves said.

"Everyone did their thing today, everyone did their bit, and that is what makes our group strong, everyone is there to help each other."

Despite a run of 13 wins in their previous 14 matches going into the game, the home fans were not impressed in the early stages, barracking their side as Panama began in lively fashion.

Neymar called for a little more patience.

"We need the fans to be a bit more patient, they were booing us at the start," he said. "Once we picked up the pace of the game, and we got used to the pitch we got better and we imposed our rhythm on them and got goals."

After Neymar's goal calmed the home side and their fans, it was all Brazil.

The Panamanians, who narrowly missed qualifying for their first World Cup, rarely troubled the hosts with Neymar and Hulk showing fine form as the start of the World Cup looms.

Brazil are hosting the World Cup for the first since 1950 and open the month-long tournament against Croatia in Sao Paulo on June 12. They also play Mexico and Cameroon in Group A.

They face a final warm up against Serbia on Friday. (Reporting by Andrew Downie; editing by Martyn Herman)

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