THREE GOALS, THREE POINTS FOR BRAZIL
By: Nhlanhla Ndlovu
The defending champions of the FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil, kicked-off the 2013 FIFA Confederation Cup on their home soil with a convincing 3-0 over the experienced Japanese side at the Estadio Nacional on Saturday night.
An early goal in the first half by their star Neymar gave the five times world champions an early lead, and three minutes in the second half Paulinho increased the score. The substitute Jo nailed the last nail into Japanese coffin in the dying minutes of the match to make the score 3-0.
Brazil showed hunger from the start of the game with Neymar oppressing the opponents on the left wing.
The 21-year-old newly signed Barcelona man, Neymar, connected with the ball after Fred controlled a long cross from Marcelo with his chest to bring the ball to the midfielder’s path in the third minute of the game. The ball bounced only once before Neymar fired it into the top corner beating Eiji Kawashima.
“It was a very quick moment where Fred was able to control the ball and I was very lucky to get a fantastic kick and score a goal,” said Neymar on New Zealand website 3news, who went off in the 74th minute with what appears to be a minor injury.
The Japanese were unlucky a minute after the opening goal when Keisuke Honda’s attempt was stopped by the home side goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
After the nightmare start for the Asian country, it was clear that the Brazilians were running over them especially in the midfield where Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo were operating.
It came as no surprise when Paulinho added the second goal for Brazil three minutes in the second half, after controlling a cross from Dani Alves before turning inside and shooting. Japanese goalkeeper Kawashima got his hands to the ball, but failed to stop the strike from the Brazilian youngster.
Although both sides created chances but, neither side scored a goal until the substitute Jo, who replaced the hard working Fred, showed his presence in the campaign by scoring the third goal responding on a through ball from Oscar and sliding it past Kawashima in injury time.
The man who led the side into the 2002 FIFA World Cup victory, Luiz Felipe Scolari, was happy with the results and there were comments after he left Ronaldinho out of the squad.
“We are building an environment that is even better than then one we had 15 days ago,” said Brazil coach Scolari.
The results shocked the Japanese coach as they hoped to do better against the host country although he knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“The reason we were not able to do what we normally do on the pitch is because we went one goal down in the third minute of the first half,” Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. “This probably shocked us.”
The Brazilians are on the top in Group A followed by Italy who beat Mexico by 2-1. The side will play the Mexican on Wednesday night.