FIFA World Cup 2018: Major teams undergo training before curtain-raiser

Moscow: Amidst the euphoria for the inauguration of 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on Thursday, the big guns underwent the routine drill while brash underdogs Australia warned Euro 2016 finalists France to brace for an early shock.

As the atmosphere built before Thursday’s curtain-raiser between the hosts and Saudi Arabia, the French and Argentine players were put through their paces while Brazil took the day off.

World champions Germany, seeking to equal Brazil’s record of five World Cup wins, will land in Russia on Tuesday, along with Gareth Southgate’s youthful England side.

Brazil and Neymar arrived in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in the early hours in buoyant mood after hammering Austria 3-0 in their final warm-up match on Sunday.

Neymar, who broke a bone in his foot in February, marked his first start in more than three months by scoring in Sunday’s easy victory in Vienna, drawing level with Romario on the list of Brazil’s all-time leading scorers behind only Pele and Ronaldo.