Barcelona star Neymar put in a sensational performance to score all four goals as Brazil cruised to victory in a friendly against Japan in Singapore. The 22-year-old’s haul takes him onto an incredible 40 goals already for his country and above Bebeto for fifth place on Brazil’s all-time list. It guaranteed another impressive win for his new coach, too, following a 2-0 win over fierce rivals Argentina in Beijing on Saturday. In four matches of his second spell in charge, the much-maligned Dunga still has a 100 percent record. A win rarely looked in doubt against what was an inexperienced Japan team selected by new coach Javier Aguirre.
As has so often been the case, even during an ultimately disastrous World Cup, Neymar was the star for the Seleção. His first goal came 18 minutes in after a fine through ball from the man who bagged both goals against Argentina, Diego Tardelli. It was a similar scenario that saw him get his second goal of the contest just after halftime, when this time he latched onto a fine pass from substitute Philippe Coutinho. Another substitute, Kaka, called back into the international fold for these two friendlies following an 18-month absence then had a major hand in the final two goals. It was the veteran’s header against the crossbar that helped lead to Neymar supplying a simple finish to get his hat-trick before Kaka’s fine cross setup the fourth.
In truth, a Japan team preparing for the Asian Cup next January offered little resistance and, indeed, played into Brazil’s hands. As they tried to push up and take the game to their opponents they allowed huge spaces for Brazil to expose on the break. While, unlike against Argentina, Brazil had more possession than their opponents, it was still with quick-paced breaks that they did the damage. Neymar missed similar chances running through against Argentina to add to his tally, but on this occasion, despite having to negotiate a far from smooth surface, he was deadly.
Just moments after hitting the post with a free-kick, Neymar gave his side the lead. It was more impressive work from Tardelli to set him up as he showed his versatility as a striker by dropping off the front. At pace, Neymar took a step to the side of veteran Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and finished high into the net. He soon came close to adding his second with a shot just wide across the face of goal from a tight angle. Japan wasted two of their rare opportunities before the interval, first when Yu Kobayashi volleyed just off target on his debut and then with Tsukasa Shiotani scuffing a shot wide after Brazil struggled to clear a corner.
But largely, this was another solid defensive display from a Brazil side that has yet to concede a goal under Dunga’s stewardship second time around. With the former World-Cup winning midfield anchorman, organization clearly comes first. And, while Brazil have yet to address the lack of fluidity through midfield, a solid shape complemented by the pace and ability of Neymar going forward means that will likely be enough to get the better of most teams.
Three minutes after halftime it was 2-0 when Japan conceded possession in midfield and Brazil instantly pounced. Coutinho’s through ball with the outside of his right foot was sublime and Neymar’s deceiving of Japan’s goalkeeper effortless. While Japan striker Shinji Okazaki hit the outside of the post, there was now only going to be one winner.
Having crossed for Kaka to head against the bar, Neymar followed up well from Coutinho’s saved shot to make it 3-0. And with nine minutes remaining, a nice interchange between Kaka and fellow experienced substitute Robinho on the left saw the man on loan at Sao Paulo from Orlando City put in a hung-up cross for Neymar to head home.