BRAZIL 3-0 JAPAN
Poster-boy of the tournament, Neymar, kicked off the Confederations Cup in style with a stunning volley to opening the scoring in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Japan on Saturday night.
Early goals in each half saw the hosts defeat the Japanese 3-0 at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. The new Barcelona signing, Neymar made sure all the attention was going to be on him after just 3 minutes, when the game began in sensational fashion with his astounding opening goal.
Corinthians midfielder Paulinho doubled the lead following a good cross by Daniel Alves. Substitute striker Jo netted the third in the final moments of the game.
It was fitting that hosts Brazil would meet the first team to qualify for the World Cup Brazil 2014 finals next year, Japan.
After a vibrant opening ceremony, the atmosphere was electric and Neymar made sure the anticipation was matched with a wonderful effort from distance. From the left wing, Real Madrid left-back Marcelo hit a switching long cross-field pass towards striker Fred.
The Fluminense man used great chest control and the ball was perfectly laid down for Neymar. The Brazilian prodigy perfectly half-volleyed a effort towards goal which flew past ‘keeper Eiji Kawashima and into the top corner of the Japanese goal.
The remainder of the first period was for the majority controlled by Brazil, but neither side created any unambiguous opportunities.
Japan must have felt a bit of déjà vu in the opening minutes after the break as the hosts went 2-0 up after three minutes from the restart.
Daniel Alves crossed from the Brazilian right wing and after taking one touch to compose himself, Paulinho struck the ball past Kawashima. It was poor goalkeeping by the Japanese, as he managed to get a hand to the ball but could not prevent the ball from creeping under his elbow.
In the final stages, the impressive Oscar split the Japanese defence with a ball through to substitute striker Jo. The Atletico Mineiro hitman kept his cool and finished superbly to give Brazil the 3-0 victory.
The rain began to pour down late in the game, but it was not enough to bring down the Brazilian fans. They will be hoping the A Seleção can continue their successful return to competitive football in Fortaleza against Mexico on Wednesday evening. Japan continue their Confederations Cup campaign also on Wednesday against Italy.
BRAZIL: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Sliva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Fred (Jo, 81), Neymar (Lucas, 74), Oscar, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Hulk (Hernanes, 75).
JAPAN: Eiji Kawashima, Keisuke Honda (Takashi Inui, 89), Yuto Nagatomo, Atsuto Uchida, Yasuhito Endo (Hajime Hosogai, 78), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Ryoichi Maeda, 51), Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa, Yasuyuki Konno, Makoto Hasebe, Maya Yoshida.
Click the name above to follow Will on Twitter.