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Sep 11, 2013

Neymar says Brazil has talent surplus

Speaking after scoring a goal in Brazil’s 3-1 victory against Portugal, Barcelona striker Neymar said the surplus of talent on the Selecao will make the final team selection in May 2014 tough for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

"We were joking around with (goalkeeper) Julio Cesar and already congratulating him (for being guaranteed a spot on the World Cup team)," Neymar told Folha de Sao Paolo after the match. "I think everyone is on the right path, but we know that only 23 will be chosen, unhappily it can’t be more. We have so many good players who deserve to be in the World Cup. If it were possible, 50 players would be called up."

Scolari, who led Brazil to the World Cup in 2002, said Tuesday he has 70 to 80% of his team already chosen, with the 34-year-old QPR goalkeeper having stamped his ticket.

"In the games against Australia and then again today I've seen there are one or two players I can add to the 17 or 18 I already have on my list," Scolari told The Telegraph.

With Cristiano Ronaldo sidelined for Portugal, Neymar put on a show in Tuesday’s friendly in Boston. He scored once and set up Brazil's other two goals.

"He has been playing very well for three, four years," Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said through a translator after the match. "Only once in every 15 or 20 games does he not play what he knows how to do.

"But normally, Neymar is this."

Thiago Silva and Jo, playing in place of the injured Fred, also scored for the Confederations Cup champions and 2014 World Cup host before 62,310 fans at Gillette Stadium.

The result may have been different, though, had Portugal been playing with Ronaldo, who was absent dealing with tendinitis.

Ronaldo, the second-highest goalscorer in Portugal's history, played through pain on Friday, according to team doctor Henrique Jones, recording his first international hat-trick in the World Cup qualifying victory over Northern Ireland.

"Naturally, he has a great influence on the way we play. But we didn't lose this game due to his absence," Portugal coach Paulo Bento said through a translator.

Scolari wasn't too disappointed Ronaldo didn't play.

"I don't miss him a lot," he said with a laugh. "He would complicate our life a lot more."

Three days after defeating Australia 6-0, Brazil came out sluggish.

After hitting the post with a header in the 11th minute, Raul Meireles gave Portugal a 1-0 lead in the 17th when he intercepted a misplaced header by Brazil defender Maicon.

Brazil answered in the 24th when Neymar's corner kick found the head of Silva, who rose high in the box and drove the ball past goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Neymar put Brazil in front for good in the 34th, deftly dribbling 35 yards past at least five Portugal players before sending a shot into the lower left side.

He later slid a pass up the sideline to Maxwell, who centered a ball that Jo easily put into the back of the net in the 49th.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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