Sport | Football

Brazil thrash Japan in friendly

Neymar nets brace, while Kaka is also on target for 2014 World Cup hosts

  • AFP
  • Published: 15:18 October 17, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Reuters
  • Brazil’s Oscar watches as his teammate Neymar (centre) runs with the ball past Japan’s Yasuyuki Konno during their friendly in Wroclaw on Tuesday.

Wroclaw: Next World Cup hosts Brazil breezed past reigning Asian champions Japan 4-0 in a friendly here on Tuesday with two goals from Neymar and one each from Paulinho and Kaka.

Corinthians midfielder Paulinho beat Japan’s keeper Eiji Kawashima 12 minutes into the game with a low shot from 20 metres.

Santos striker Neymar then struck in the 26th minute, blasting home a penalty awarded after Yasuyuki Konno took down Kaka in the box.

He added another goal just after the break with a weak shot deflected into the net by the Japanese defence.

And Kaka made it 4-0 in the 76th minute, bearing down on Kawashima before unleashing a left-footed shot.

Kaka, Real Madrid’s star midfielder, was playing only his second international since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - having netted last week on his comeback against Iraq.

Brazil’s coach Mano Menezes said: “We played well tactically, the team was good and I’m very happy with the performance.

“Japan are a very strong team, they kept the ball a long time, but we managed to take it away from them.”

Menezes dismissed allegations Brazil were playing defensive football with him at the helm - a claim his team refuted by scoring ten goals in their last two games.

“We know it’s not true,” Menezes said, adding that quality mattered more than goals.

“And I’m happy the team plays well no matter who’s against us,” he added.

Japan’s Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who like his Menezes was appointed after the last World Cup, said he could only be happy with the experience of playing against such a great team.

“We didn’t want to let them get close to the box, but our plan didn’t work,” said Zaccheroni, who has coached AC Milan and several other Serie-A sides.

“Their first two goals came quickly and that probably did some mental damage to the team,” he said, raising doubts about the foul that preceded the penalty kick.

“Today’s game was a very valuable experience for Japan. But I thought we would do better than we did, and we have to think about what we can improve now,” he Zaccheroni.

“I can say positive things about the approach, (the players) fought for 90 minutes and tried to move the ball,” added the coach.

Brazil created more chances in the first half but Paulinho narrowly missed the goal and Kaka sent his shot against the post.

The Auriverde were missing injured defenders Dani Alves and Marcelo, but defence was rarely an issue for them.

Japan, four-time Asian champions, had the first shot on goal, but a low effort from CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda was stopped by Brazil keeper Diego Alves.

Early in the second half, Honda saw his shot deflected by the defence while Manchester United striker Shinji Kagawa blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Neymar’s acrobatic effort then missed the target and St Petersburg’s Brazilian striker Hulk hit the wall with a left-foot free kick, the ball deflecting onto the post.

Lucas, who is due to join big spenders Paris St Germain in January, missed the target narrowly after a superb run in stoppage time.

Both teams came to Wroclaw - a city that hosted group-stage games at Euro 2012 in June - following wins in friendlies last week.

Brazil crushed Iraq 6-0 in Malmo, Sweden, last Thursday, while Japan stunned France 1-0 in Paris on Friday.

Brazil have already qualified for the 2014 World Cup as hosts, while Japan are aiming for a fifth straight World Cup since their debut at France 1998.

The Blue Samurai, who are leading Asian Group B with 10 points from three wins and one draw, will play their next qualifier away to Oman on November 14.

This defeat leaves Japan dreaming of their first-ever victory over Brazil at full international level.

Gulf News