After a first half that promised little and delivered less, few were expecting a vintage performance from Brazil in their friendly against France. But the Selecao decided to ditch the mediocrity and turn on the jets, playing a superb 45 minutes to dispatch their guests 3-0 via goals from Oscar, Hernanes and Lucas Moura.
The hosts did have their chances to score in what was a generally insipid opening spell. Neymar pinched the ball off Hugo Lloris with a minute gone, but didn't take advantage of the chance to shoot and found himself upended by the goalkeeper when Lloris swiped the ball to safety. The new Barcelona man also might have converted later on when a French error allowed Marcelo to slash a pass across the face of goal, but he failed to stretch and the chance was wasted.
Despite some pretty woeful defending at times from Paulinho, Luiz Gustavo and David Luiz, France weren't looking all that likely to score, but Didier Deschamps would have been pretty pleased that they'd more or less kept Brazil at bay. The Selecao were looking neutered, with their midfield failing to link up properly with the creative players ahead.
Happily for the audience, they rectified that problem at halftime. Brazil began the second half with purpose and fluidity, pressing France deep into their own territory and hounding them on the few occasions they were able to grab possession. That pressure soon told as Fred robbed Jeremy Mathieu, setting up a two-on-one attack which Oscar converted from near the penalty spot.
At 1-0, Brazil were clearly on top but they weren't home and dry. Some poor midfield play resulted in a France break that would have seen David Luiz score an own goal if not for an acrobatic rescue from Julio Cesar, and those sorts of lapses would have given the visitors hope of coming up with an equaliser.
As it turned out, they extended themselves too far, and the Selecao were able to kill off the game on a counterattack. Jo very nearly ruined the move, which came after a botched French corner, but Lucas Moura managed to swing a cross into Neymar, who knocked back for Hernanes to finish via Lloris' left-hand post.
The icing on the cake was a penalty, won by Marcelo after an enterprising run and stroked into the bottom corner by Lucas Moura in what turned out to be the last kick of the game. Brazil 3-0 France -- how's that for a bit of samba flair?