SAO PAULO (AP) — Striker Fred scored early in the second half to help Brazil defeat Serbia 1-0 in its final warm-up before the World Cup on Friday.
Brazil was struggling and fans were jeering the team when Fred found the net from inside the area in the 58th minute at a nearly packed Morumbi Stadium. He chested down a cross by Thiago Silva and hit a right footed shot as he fell in between two Serbian defenders.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari used the same team that is expected to play in the opener against Croatia on Thursday.
"It was a good match, a good test," Scolari said. "There were some difficulties here and there, but the team is improving and is on the right track for the opener."
Nearly 70,000 people attended the game at the Morumbi for the final warm-up, more than the 61,000 expected for the opening match, which will also be played in Sao Paulo.
Brazil will start the World Cup having won 15 of its last 16 matches, but it gave a disappointing performance before its first match.
The Brazilian squad had difficulties creating significant scoring chances and faced some dangerous Serbian counter attacks, prompting loud jeers by the crowd several times during the match. Brazil had also struggled in the warm-up against Panama on Tuesday until Neymar broke the deadlock by scoring from a free kick in the 25th minute.
"It's normal, it happens when the team is not playing well," Scolari said. "But the players know this, they know that when things are not going right some of the fans will not be happy. But we have to thank them, they were patient most of the time and they helped us get the victory. We hope that will be the case again in the match next week."
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