Richarlison scored twice as Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 in Le Havre, an early tease of the Selecao’s strength before they go after a sixth World Cup title.
Neymar pulled the strings in the first half, setting up both of Tottenham frontman Richarlison’s goals after Marquinhos put them into an early lead.
There was a late booking for Neymar after he took too firm a nibble at Mohammed Kudus, the player who scored for Ajax against Liverpool in the Champions League.
But nothing could spoil Brazil’s night in Normandy as Tite’s team wrapped up a convincing win.
The opening goal came in the ninth minute when Raphinha’s devilishly powerful corner from the right swung in and was met with a thumping header from Marquinhos.
Raphinha, Neymar and Vinicius Junior failed to take chances before Richarlison showed how it is done in the 28th minute, sweeping a crisp and low first-time shot into the bottom-right corner from Neymar’s pass.
Brazil’s third arrived in the 40th minute when Neymar took on set-piece duties on the left and whipped a dangerous free-kick into the near post where Richarlison’s header gave Jojo Wollacott little chance.
Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams made his Ghana debut, coming on for the start of the second half after switching allegiance from Spain. Brazil also threw on Bremer for a debut, the Juventus central defender taking the place of Thiago Silva.
Ghana went close to pulling one goal back when Andre Ayew headed against the crossbar in the 57th minute, while Williams proved to be a dangerous new presence in the Black Stars’ attack.
Brazil had riches in reserve though, and Tite withdrew Richarlison, Vinicius and Casemiro just after the hour mark, with Fabinho, Antony and Matheus Cunha coming on.
Raphinha could not quite reach a dangerous ball across goal from Lucas Paqueta, and Cunha saw a close-range effort deflect over the bar, as Brazil chased in vain for a fourth late in the game.
21 – Neymar has been involved in 21 goals in 12 games this season (11 goals + 10 assists). Class. pic.twitter.com/HHs2gElIwe
— OptaJoao (@OptaJoao) September 23, 2022
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This was clinical from Brazil, getting the win effectively locked up by half-time before being able to rest a host of players in the second half and give opportunities to others who benefited.
By full-time, they led by 2.93 to 0.46 on expected goals (xG), the metric which reflects the quality of chances and likelihood of scoring, so 3-0 was just how it deserved to finish.
The Selecao led 9-1 in terms of shots on target, enjoyed 63.3 per cent of possession and had a passing accuracy of 91.8 per cent.
Barca boy Raphinha delivers again
His corner delivery for the early goal was practically impossible to defend. Or at least Ghana made it look that way. Raphinha has now been involved in six goals in his 10 games for Brazil, with three goals and three assists to date.
Only Neymar has been involved in more goals (eight) for Brazil since Raphinha’s debut, which reflects the quality that persuaded Barcelona to prise him away from Leeds United.
Neymar takes PSG form into Brazil duty
Outstanding for PSG this season, Neymar matched Raphinha and Richarlison for a team-high three shots here, two of which hit the target. He also had two assists among his game-best six key passes.
His 55 passes in the opposition half was 18 higher than the next Brazilian (Alex Telles) on the list, and he even won a team-high 70 per cent of duels (14 of 20).
Just now, Neymar looks the complete package, ready to take a World Cup by storm.
Neymar and Marquinhos should feel right at home when Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes hosts Brazil’s friendly against Tunisia on Tuesday. Ghana have a clash with Nicaragua to look forward to on the same day, with the match to be played in Lorca, Spain.