(Corrects slug)


Manuel Perez Bella

A spectacular goal by Neymar started Brazil on the road to an easy 3-0 victory over a hapless Japan squad, which was never in the running against the host team in the opening game of the Confederations Cup tourney.

Neymar, lashing a shot into the net early in the first half; Paulinho, with a quick finish at the beginning of the second; and Jo, with a counterattack in injury time, won the game for Brazil, which played better than in recent friendly matches but without totally overpowering its rival.

Japan's performance lived up to its rating as the weakest team in Group A and never had Brazil in any real trouble.

Neymar took a scant three minutes to put Brazil on the scoreboard after taking an assist from Fred outside the penalty area and instantly slamming the ball through the Japanese squad for a score.

The goal by the newly signed Barcelona striker started the game off right for the host team, which from then on owned the ball, though without ever completely overpowering Japan and even getting bogged down at midfield itself sometimes.

Hulk, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo were largely responsible for holding in check a Japan team that appeared far too inexperienced.

With almost the same script as in the first half but with different actors, Brazil scored a second goal two minutes after the referee's whistle kicked off the second half.

The Corinthians' midfielder took a long cross from winger Daniel Alves, turned and booted in the score.

With a 2-0 lead Brazil could coast a little, but then Neymar took a hit in the back and had to be substituted by Lucas Moura, a player that fans had been calling for.

A swift counterattack led by Oscar allowed Jo to notch Brazil's third goal of the game, rounding out the scoring of the one-sided match in injury time. EFE