Oscar, Hernanes and Lucas all scored to ensure France returned from their South American tour with two defeats.
Having been beaten 1-0 in Uruguay on Wednesday, France were hoping for better at Porto Alegre's Arena do Grêmio against the FIFA World Cup hosts. However, Les Bleus were condemned to their third loss in a row, following on from their qualifying reverse at the hands of Spain in March.
France had not lost to Brazil since 1992 – a run including the 1998 FIFA World Cup final – and Didier Deschamps made eight changes from the Uruguay loss. Luiz Felipe Scolari fielded nine European-based starters plus former Olympique Lyonnais man Fred.
Deschamps had hinted at defensive tactics before the game but both Josuha Guilavogui and Dmitri Payet forced Júlio César into first-half saves. However, early in the second period Fred ran down the left and cut back for Chelsea FC's Oscar to coolly finish. Another Chelsea player, David Luiz, was relieved to see Júlio César save after he deflected Mathieu Valebuena's dangerous cross towards his own goal while Hugo Lloris denied his former Lyon club-mate Fred.
However, in the last six minutes Brazil ran away with it. First Paris Saint-Germain FC player Lucas found FC Barcelona signing Neymar to flick into Hernanes's path to make it 2-0, and Lucas converted an added-time penalty after Marcelo was floored by Mathieu Debuchy.
After a friendly against Belgium on 14 August, France resume their bid to return to Brazil next summer when they visit Georgia on 6 September, as they currently trail Spain by a point with three Group I fixtures to go.