A 3-0 win for the hosts is a fantastic way to kick-start their quest for Confederations Cup glory
The first half, however, was uneventful to say the least. A part from Neymar’s wonder volley in the
3rd minute, which made me think: “Wow, this game might actually shape up to be worth the watch.”
I say that because this isn’t the Brazil I grew up watching. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos were the names that shone in the previous squad, that really left the world open-jawed in amazement.
This is a young Brazilian side. The likes of Oscar, Paulinho and Neymar are all unestablished, expected to fill the boots of Kaka, Ronaldinho – who are now overlooked by Coach, Phil Scolari.
But, again, the first half was a little dull. Only a few chances from Brazil, and worryingly likewise from Japan. The teams went in with the score at 1-0 to Brazil.
On to the second half.
Japan cannoned out from the whistle. A real ‘in your face’ attitude, and Brazil looked shocked. But within three minutes, Dani Alves whipped in a pinpoint cross that was controlled beautifully by
Paulinho, and his shot proved too hot to handle for Kawashima. 2-0 to the Samba boys.
Japan refused to lie down, they piled on the pressure, prompting and probing at Brazil’s strong defence.
A few shots were fired towards Julio Cesar, but breaking down the Brazilian defence was mission: impossible for the Japs.
Both teams were flirting with each other, they was no end product to some decent build up play - and that’s how the second half panned out. There were a few tough tackles, especially on Neymar who got lumps kicked out of him, but the play was very much in Brazil’s favour.
As the game neared the finish, Scolari decided to sacrifice Neymar for ex-Manchester City striker Jo, and Hulk for PSG winger Lucas Moura – much to the anger of the Brazilian fans.
But the substitution paid off. Seconds from the final whistle, Brazil’s Oscar stretched his legs on a swift counter-attack and threaded a wonderfully weighted pass through to Jo who slotted home to seal a 3-0 victory.
3-0 is comfortable. But I feel this Brazil team has a long way to go before they start thinking they’re ready to lift the big one next year.