Brazil edged past world champions Germany 1-0 in their international friendly on Tuesday to snap their opponents’ 22-match unbeaten run and exact some measure of revenge for their 2014 World Cup semi-final humiliation.
Gabriel Jesus headed in the winner in the 37th minute as Brazil, beaten just once under coach Tite and missing injured talisman Neymar, beat a second-string German team to restore some pride after their 7-1 loss to the Europeans four years ago.
The Germans were hoping to match their record of 23 games without defeat but they lacked their usual spark, with several key players injured or rested, including Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil and Thomas Mueller.
Germany coach Joachim Loew made seven changes to the team that drew 1-1 against Spain on Friday as they prepare for a World Cup title defence in Russia in June.
In an evenly-balanced first half and with the “open wound” of their shock World Cup loss to Germany still painful according to Tite, the visitors were in no mood to take any early risks.
Instead of pressing high for fear of being caught on the break, Brazil waited for the Germans to enter into their half. Disciplined and hard-working at the back, they kept German pressure under control.
Brazil then grabbed an unexpected lead when keeper Kevin Trapp, replacing the rested Marc-Andre ter Stegen failed to hold on to Jesus’s point-blank header, with the ball slipping through after his reflex save. The Germans tried to get an equaliser before the break with Mario Gomez, vying for a spot in the World Cup squad, coming close twice.
But it was the Brazilians who were more aggressive in the second half, threatening through Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho. Loew, who will announce his preliminary World Cup squad on May 15, brought on Sandro Wagner for Gomez to add pressure with a fresh forward.
However, Brazil kept their cool to earn a much-needed confidence boost. The five-times world champions kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia. The Germans, four-time champions, have been drawn in Group F of the tournament, along with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.
Spain sent out a warning to their World Cup rivals as Isco grabbed a hat-trick in a 6-1 thrashing of Argentina, who were missing the injured Lionel Messi, in a friendly on Tuesday.
Diego Costa, Thiago and Iago Aspas also got on the scoresheet as the 2010 world champions humiliated a hapless Argentina team who struggled without their talisman Messi.
Both sides missed good chances in the opening exchanges before Costa bravely prodded in from close range after 12 minutes, despite being clattered by goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Both players required lengthy treatment and eventually left the pitch at different stages. Romero’s replacement, Chelsea back-up Willy Caballero, had a nightmare, giving the ball away with his first touch as Isco gleefully swept home Spain’s second in the 27th.
Argentina defender Nicolas Otamendi briefly offered the visitors hope as he nodded the ball in before the break. After the restart, however, it was again all Spain with Argentina’s haphazard goalkeeping and defending ruthlessly exposed as Isco (twice), Thiago and Aspas completed the rout.