Willian partners Neymar as Brazil beat Austria

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Willian, obviously not Antonio Conte’s first-choice at the Bridge but  a power house and part of coach Tite strongest XI.

In fact, the preferred lineup is so set in stone these days, that Tite named most of his team way back in February already. After the humiliation of the 7-1 four years ago, he will be hoping that the team’s familiarity with each other will be the key difference against all the other favorites in Russia. Well that, and Neymar’s brilliance.

Those two aspects combined most notably for Brazil’s second goal against Austria on Sunday night in Vienna, as Willian’s lofted ball found Neymar at the top of the box, and from there, the world’s most expensive player took care of the rest.

During their warm-up game against Austria at the Ernst-Happel stadium on Sunday, Gabriel Jesus broke the deadlock for Brazil just 36 minutes into the game after a corner kick was cleared as far as Marcelo, whose low drive bounces kindly for Jesus, just onside on the left, to curl a superb finish inside the far corner.

63 minutes on the clock, Paulinho looked to have squandered a great chance as he failed to find PSG forward, Neymar, but Willian picked up the slack with a dink through to Neymar. Excellent footwork takes him through to finish coolly and made it 2-0 to the visitors.

6 minutes later, Coutinho completed the rout for Brazil after a lovely one-two with Firmino sets him clear to curl a finish around Lindner.

Willian will undoubtedly be key to those efforts just as he’s been key to Brazil’s games since the last World Cup. What the future holds for him at Stanford Bridge is unclear, though it seems increasingly likely that he will follow Mata, Matić, and Mourinho and end up at Manchester United.


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