Neymar back in action at Red Bull Five World Final

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, July 18: Brazil star Neymar took to the field for the first time since his injury at the Copa America as Hungary and Slovakia were crowned crowned champions at the Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five World Final in Praia Grande, Brazil while for India's Team Kalina Rangers Mumbai, it was a great learning experience.

After tough games at the recent World Finals, Hungary (Mixed) and Slovakia (Women's) came out on top at the InstitutoProjeto Neymar Jr in the neighbourhood where the Brazilian grew up.

Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five is the largest five-a-side football tournament in the world, organised by energy drink giant Red Bull.

Valuable experience

Red Bull Neymar Jr's Five 2019 India Champions, Kalina Rangers from Mumbai represented India at the World Finals in Brazil, and gained valuable experience with a historic win against eventual champions Hungary.

Unfortunately, their tournament ended at the group stage following a draw against Luxembourg and heartbreaking defeats against Spain and Angola.

Neymar thrills

Neymar watched the semi-finals and finals from the stands with friends and family, before stepping onto the field with his own special team to face the world champions in two memorable matches.

It was Paris Saint-Germain forward's first taste of action following an ankle injury which had kept him out for six weeks, but the 27-year-old showed no signs of rust as he tricked and flicked his way around the newly crowned World Champions, leaving them in awe.

Neymar impressed

Speaking after the competition, Neymar was impressed with what he had seen:

"The level was really high, really intense today," said the Brazil forward. "This competition reminds me of my childhood when I used to play 5x5, 3x3, 2x2 in the streets here. I'm really proud to be able to host people from so many countries in the neighbourhood where I grew up."

Elite five-a-side

Over 100,000 players signed up for a qualifier in this year's competition as elite five-a-side players battled it out in 40 countries across six continents.

Hungary won seven out of their eight matches, including a 2-0 win over Spain in the final, to land the title in the mixed competition. The honour of being the second female world champions went to the Slovakia, who was consistent throughout the tournament and narrowly overcame Japan 2-1 in the final.

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