The Mexican national soccer team, with two goals by striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, beat Japan 2-1 on the weekend but bade farewell to the Confederations Cup in Brazil with its only victory of the tourney.

Hernandez scored in the 53rd and 65th minutes in Saturday's match and Japan at least avoided being blanked on a tally in the 85th minute by Shinji Okazaki.

Mexico had gone down to defeat in its earlier matches 1-2 against Italy and 0-2 against the host squad, whereas Japan had been defeated by Italy 3-4 and by Brazil 0-3.

The match was played not far removed from the wave of protests sweeping Brazil at this time, and some 15,000 protesters attempted to approach Mineirao stadium while the game was under way but were prevented from doing so by police.

Inside the stadium could be heard the constant chant from outside "Brasil acordou" (Brazil has awakened), a slogan which has gained strength during the demonstrations that began two weeks ago in Sao Paulo over an increase in bus fares but then spread nationwide as other social demands were added, evidence of widespread - if heretofore largely latent - social discontent.

Brazil, meanwhile ran over Italy 4-2 in their last match of the initial Confederations Cup phase in a contest played in the city of Salvador.

The win moved the host team into the semifinals as the leader in Group A.

Two goals by Fred, one by Neymar, who once again proved decisive with a magnificent free kick, and the last one by Dante secured for Brazil its third win out of three matches and a relatively easy move into the semifinals.

Brazil ended its first phase activities with 9 points and will probably go up in the semifinals against Group B's Uruguay, who are likely to prevail against Tahiti in their Sunday first-round matchup.

Meanwhile, Italy will join Brazil in the semifinals and are slated to face the top Group B squad. EFE