THE DAY REPLAYED – O sonho comeca agora, the dream begins now. This was the message of the opening ceremony of the FIFA Confederations Cup and the day itself served to highlight that Brazil is moving in the right direction on and off the pitch.
Prior to the match, the crowd of 67,423 at the atmospheric, newly renovated Estadio Nacional in Brasilia witnessed a colourful opening ceremony which not only welcomed the seven competing nations, but acknowledged Brazil as being a country where cultures have come together over the centuries.
The symmetry of the ceremony’s 2,600 talented performers was reflected in the timing of today’s goals, with the first two coming in the third minute and Jo’s late strike which capped the convincing victory coming in the third minute of added time.
Brazil 3-0 Japan (Neymar 3’, Paulinho 48’, Jo 90+3’)
What it means…
Brazil’s return to competitive football following an almost a two year absence was a hugely successful one. They equalled the record of eight consecutive wins at the FIFA Confederations Cup and are now on a run of nine matches in a row without defeat in the competition. However, the team which inflicted their last defeat, Mexico [in 2005], are their next opponents on Wednesday.
Japan, the first team to have qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will have been disappointed by the result and their performance, rarely testing Julio Cesar in the Brazil goal. They will have to step up a gear against Italy in Recife in their next group game.
Goal of the day
The third-fastest goal in FIFA Confederations Cup history and the quickest in the tournament’s opening match was scored in the third minute. Marcelo’s cross from the left was brought down by Fred into Neymar’s path. Barcelona’s newest recruit allowed the ball to bounce once before hitting a stunning right footed shot which flew past Standard Liege stopper Eiji Kawashima and into the top corner of the net. It had to be him.
Stat of the day
20 - Brazil have never lost a FIFA Confederations Cup match after scoring the first goal. After today’s game, they have won 18 of those encounters, drawing two. There was another curious feature of today’s game, Paulinho and Neymar also scored against Japan in the last meeting between the two sides, a 4-0 friendly win in October 2012.
Quote of the day
"I never stopped saying that Neymar is an amazing player. He may have moments when he's not at his best - which happens to everyone, but I never doubted that he's someone who can make a difference, like he did today," Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil coach.
The first double header of the FIFA Confederations Cup takes place tomorrow when Mexico face Italy at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in Group A’s second game at 16.00 local time. Three hours later, Group B gets underway in Recife as world and European champions Spain take on Uruguay.
Tweet of the day
— Robinho (@oficialrobinho) June 15, 2013