Hosts Brazil beat Japan 3-0 on Saturday in the opening match of the Confederations Cup in Brasilia, which witnessed a sort of reconciliation between budding superstar Neymar and Brazilian fans.
Man-of-the-match Neymar scored a beautiful goal just three minutes into the game. Fellow-striker Fred chested the ball, and the new gem of Brazilian football let it bounce and produced a fantastic right-footed half-volley that Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima was powerless to stop.
Brazil found the net again three minutes after the break, when Paulinho scored from a mid-range shot. The ball stayed close to the ground and bounced just under the body of Kawashima on the way to the net, an unexpectedly successful effort that the keeper should have contained.
The early goal disarmed Japan’s generally rocky defence, and they had few chances to score. Their best effort came in the 71st minute, when substitute Ryoichi Maeda made the most of messy Brazilian defending to challenge Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar.