Brazil 3-0 Japan

By Chris BevanBBC Sport
Confederations Cup: Brazil 3-0 Japan highlights

Neymar's spectacular third-minute goal set hosts Brazil on their way to a comfortable victory over Japan in the opening game of the Confederations Cup.

The Barcelona striker met Fred's knockdown on the edge of the area with a blistering shot into the top corner.

Neymar scores superb opening goal

Paulinho made it 2-0 from a Dani Alves cross and Oscar sent Jo running clear to add a third goal in injury time.

The game was the first international match to use goal-line technology, but it was not needed for any decisions.

With less than a year to go until Brazil hosts the World Cup finals, this is a tournament that will act as a dress rehearsal for the South Americans - on and off the pitch.

The nation's infrastructure will be under scrutiny over the next two weeks but at the revamped Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, one of the stadia for 2014, the only work in progress of interest was Brazil's team.

Going into their first competitive fixture in 23 months, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side had won just two of their previous nine games, and desperately needed a positive performance in front of a demanding home crowd.

So Neymar's superbly-taken goal, after only two minutes and 53 seconds, did much to lift the pressure on him and his team-mates.

Barcelona's new £48.6m striker, who sealed his move to the Nou Camp from Santos earlier this month, had not scored in his last nine international matches and has been criticised for his performances by the Brazilian press.

His finish, after Fred chested Marcelo's driven cross into his path, should only earn him plaudits however, with Neymar bending his body to guide an unstoppable strike past Eiji Kawashima.

Japan, who are so far the only country to have qualified for the World Cup, threatened an immediate response but Keisuke Honda could not convert Shinji Okazaki's cross at the far post.

That was the story of the game for the Blue Samurai, who enjoyed some neat build-up play but fell short in front of goal.

Brazil will undoubtedly face much tougher tests, especially in 12 months' time, but they will be encouraged by the inter-play of their front players and could have extended their lead before the break when Hulk fired into the side netting and Kawashima denied Fred.

Instead their second goal arrived immediately after the interval, when Paulinho controlled an Alves cross and slammed home a shot that Kawashima reached but could not keep out.

From then on, Brazil seemed content to dominate possession rather than look to create more chances, a strategy that could have backfired if not for a fine save by Julio Cesar from Japan substitute Ryoichi Maeda.

But an opening win for the Selecao in Group A was already secure before former Manchester City striker Jo came off the bench to make it 3-0, running on to a precise pass from the tireless Oscar and slotting home.


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