Anilava Chatterjee, Sochi: If ever there was a sign that Brazil was not feeling the enormous pressure weighing heavily on their shoulders, it was the manner in which they celebrated Philippe Coutinho’s 26th birthday on Tuesday.
As the squad trained in the blistering heat in Sochi, the players took it upon themselves to lighten the mood by covering the Barcelona playmaker in eggs and flour, as is tradition in Brazil.
Neymar and Gabriel Jesus were the prime instigators, rounding on Coutinho during the session. The Paris Saint-Germain star launched the flour before his strike partner Jesus cracked open an egg on Coutinho’s head as he lay there helpless while his team-mates erupted with laughter.
The celebrations descended into a free-for-all when Thiago Silva turned on Neymar and hurled an egg at him, certainly the sort of relaxed atmosphere Tite hoped to create ahead of the biggest tournament in football.
With temperatures set to tip 30 degrees for the opening round of fixtures in Russia, Brazil is keeping it cool in their final preparations.