Neymar, Brazil hit Japan in friendly
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Neymar scored a penalty and missed another as Brazil signalled their intent ahead of next year’s World Cup by outclassing Japan 3-1 in Friday’s international friendly in Lille.
The Paris Saint-germain star rolled in a 10th-minute spotkick following consultation with the video assistant referee, although Neymar saw a second penalty saved shortly after by Eiji Kawashima.
Marcelo rifled in a magnificent second as Brazil doubled their lead on 17 minutes, with Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus rounding off a clinical counterattack before half-time to make it 3-0.
Tomoaki Makino nodded in a consolation from a corner on 62 minutes but Japan remain winless against Brazil, losing for the 10th time in 12 meetings.
“I’m really happy with what’s happening with the national team and (coach) Tite, we feel confident with him and believe in him,” said Neymar.
“We’re really prepared for our matches and we think we can be better and will continue to grow ahead of the World Cup.”
Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic was left to rue his team’s disastrous start. “I don’t know what was happening in their heads in the first half,” said Halilhodzic.
“The penalty was whistled because of the video and perhaps that threw the team off.”
He added: “It’s a shame about the first half, the second half gave me quite a bit of satisfaction.
“I see plenty of things we need to improve and we’ll draw a lot of things from this match.”
Neymar was joined by PSG team-mate Thiago Silva in the Brazil line-up as Tite picked a strong side despite playing in front of a sparsely-filled Stade Pierre-mauroy in northern France.
Halilhodzic, who served a four-year spell as Lille coach over a decade ago, called up 12 Europe-based players for the double-header with Brazil and Belgium, but experienced attacking trio Shinji Kagawa, Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda were all overlooked for selection.
Neymar constant threat
Japan were thrashed 4-0 by a Neymar-inspired Brazil in their last encounter in 2014 and again quickly found themselves under threat from the world’s most expensive player.
He slipped Giuliano through down the right-hand side after carving open space, with captain
Yuto Nagatomo forced to produce a vital sliding block. Brazil were soon in front as referee Benoit
Bastien belatedly awarded a penalty after the video official spotted Maya Yoshida tugging the jersey of Fernandinho at a corner. Neymar calmly converted for his 53rd international goal — eight of which have come against Japan — and the 25-year-old should have added to his tally five minutes later after Jesus was barged over by Hotaru Yamaguchi. (AFP)
I’m really happy with what’s happening with the national team and (coach) Tite, we feel confident with him and believe in him. We’re really prepared for our matches and we think we can be better and will continue to grow ahead of the World Cup” Neymar Brazil’s forward Neymar is tackled by Japan’s defender Atsuto Uchida during the friendly football match yesterday at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve d’ascq, northern France.