Brazil came into the opening game of the widely anticipated Confederations Cup with a huge weight on their shoulders. With the home crowd in the state of Brasilia, a region which isn't know for their footballing connection, were looking eagerly forward to seeing their footballing icons in the flesh. With Brazil playing a very strong side with the likes of Neymar playing, it seemed Japan were just 'another' team to make up the numbers against Brazil. The 71000 seater stadium wasn't fully backed out, but there was great noise from the fans who did turn up. Brazil and Japan both started in a 4-2-3-1 and to be fair to Japan, right from the start they started with a high defensive line, something unusual from a side playing a team with a lot more talented players.
Within 3 minutes of the kick off Brazil found a break through, a great start for the host nations. A chipped ball played in from the left by Marcelo found the chest of Fred who easily helped the ball down for Neymar who smashed the ball into the roof of the net. The stadium erupted with the party festivals firmly commenced. With the game going on, Brazil were firmly in the driving seat, playing a slow tempo build up play. Paulinho starter really brightly, playing in a much deeper role than he normally does for his club. He's well suited to playing deep, and easily taking the ball off the defence to spread the play to the full back or direct into the feet of any of the attackers like Oscar or Hulk. With the build up play being excellent from the Brazilians, they were missing a final ball in the last third on many occasions.
On many time Dani Alves over hit, miss hit and under hit balls into the box, not supplying Fred as he usually does. At one stage, midway through the first half, Brazil had a great chance to break away, a good turn by Hulk saw him set away Alves down the right. With Brazil overloading the box in this attack, Alves' over hit cross, which left the front men disappointed. When Japan had the ball, they used it effectively. They were well able to pass the ball around, and were fully confident on the ball. In attacks they used the wings a lot, and found space the flanks on a few occasions. Honda caused most of the problems on the chalk for Brazil. He tested Cesar on a few occasions in the first half, with most of the shots coming from distant. Next year in the World Cup, Japan will be an enjoyable team to look, because although they were against a very good Brazilian team, they still were able to imply there great football on the game in periods.
Hulk was ineffective in the opening 45 minutes, the Zenit winger, attracts viewers with his eye catching pace and powerful shots, but in reality he's one of the least intelligent Brazilian on the pitch, lacking the knowledge and sense to know when to release the ball. With that in mind, he did get an impressive shot away. Cutting inside and striking the ball, only to be denied by the side netting. The movement off the ball from the Brazilians was great. With overlapping full backs mixed in with the freedom of Neymar and Oscar, it's incredibly hard to stop this team, when it full force. Another fact to take into account, is that these two sides are the only teams that are guaranteed to be playing at next years World Cup, with Japan joining host Brazil, following there win against Australia last week. But back to the game. Brazil kept on the great attacking pressure, with fantastic work down the left from Marcelo. Some great one-two's down the flanks, in turn, helped creat a few half chances. Half Time came and went and soon Brazil doubled their lead after a great finish from Paulinho following a bullet of a pass from Dani Alves.
Paulinho reminds me of Frank Lampard, making late runs into the box, perfectly timing his runs, and being well able to finish. The Midfielder has been rumoured to be interested in a move to the Premier League, I think he would be well suited. On a side note for Japan, I have to say I was quite impressed with the striker, Okazaki, he seemed like a clever player, a poacher, good positional sense, the lot, I think he could be one to look for Japan next summer.
He didn't get enough service, which is understandable considering the opposition Japan were up against. Brazil played quite a deep defensive line, something I wasn't to pleased with, normally David Luiz enjoys carrying the ball out of defence and creating chances, an admirable trait in the Chelsea man. Another stat for you. This was Oscar's 72nd match this season, playing 64 for Chelsea, am incredible stat for the little play maker, who had a decent game tonight. Just as the game was closing out, Oscar made a great break and found himself in a huge amount of space. The Chelsea man cleverly slipped sub and ex Man City striker, Jo in for his first international goal, a dream come through. Attendance: 68000