MOSCOW, March 24. /TASS/. A friendly football match against the Russian national team on Friday night in Moscow was a good test for the Brazilian team ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer, Brazilian defender Dani Alves told journalists after the game.
Although missing its star Neymar during the international friendly match against Russia at the Luzhniki Stadium, the squad of Brazilian footballers confidently crushed the hosts with the final score of 3-0.
All three goals in the match were scored by Brazil in the second half within 16 minutes. The goals for Brazil were scored by Miranda on the 50th minute; Philippe Coutinho on the 62nd minute; Paulinho on the 66th minute.
"We knew that the Russian team’s play would rely on the defense and it was a good test for us during the preparations for the World Cup," Alves said. "This game was very spectacular and we will continue our preparations."
Some 59,000 tickets were sold for Friday’s friendly game at the Luzhniki Stadium, which is one of 12 stadiums across the country selected as venues for 2018 FIFA World Cup matches. The stadium in the Russian capital will also host the opening and final games of the championship.
Asked whether he wanted to be back again at the Luzhniki Stadium during the World Cup, Alves said "I did not know that the (World Cup) final match will be played at this stadium."
"Therefore, coming back here is the biggest dream for all of us," Alves stated. "We will be approaching this target step by step and will do our best to clear all stages on the way to the final."
Brazilian midfielder Coutinho also praised the good level of Russia’s play in the defense.
"Russia has a good lineup of defense, but I cannot name the players at the moment," Coutinho, who also plays for Spain’s Barcelona FC, said after the match. "We played much better in the second half and this is why we are leaving very happy."
"It was difficult for us at first to play against five defenders, but we made some reshuffles which made it easier to keep playing," Coutinho said. "It became easier for our forwards, when Russia decided to get stuck in the defense."
Coutinho’s teammate Willian said commenting on the game that it was a perfect result for the Brazilian team, but noted also some difficulaties playing against the Russian defensive game.
"This is an excellent result for us and we played very well," Willian said. "We had some minor problems in the first half because Russia’s defensive lineup was in the majority. But we managed to find vacant zones in the second half and to score the goals."
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia in less than 90 days. Russia selected 11 host cities to be the venues for the matches of the 2018 World Cup and they are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The matches of the 2018 World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 at 12 stadiums located in the 11 mentioned above cities across Russia. Two of the stadiums are located in the Russian capital.
On December 1, 2017, the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow hosted the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which determined the group breakdown for the FIFA flagship event this year. A total of 32 national football squads were divided into eight groups with four teams in each.
Russia, as the host nation, has been placed in Group A alongside with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay, while Brazil will share Group E with Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.