Brazil have beaten Japan 3-0 to open the 2013 Confederations Cup. The hosts begin this summer's World Cup dress-rehearsal with three points and plenty of confidence thanks to young star Neymar.
The dominating victory was the perfect way to open the tournament for the hosts, in the country's capital, Brasilia. Nearly 70,000 fans packed the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, named after the legendary winger who led Brazil to consecutive World Cup titles in 1958 and 1962.
The tournament's opening festivities were overshadowed somewhat by a protest outside the stadium before the match. Around 1,000 people rallied against the costs Brazil has to bear by hosting the World Cup next summer, with police reportedly responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray.
Neymar didn't disappoint
The starting lineups featured five of the tournament's 13 Bundesliga players: Japan's Atsuto Uchido, Makoto Hasebe, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Shinji Okazaki, along with Luiz Gustavo of Brazil. Another five Germany-based players watched from the bench.
It was the world's most famous young footballing talent Neymar (pictured above) who scored the first goal of the tournament. Just three minutes into the match, the Barcelona-bound attacking winger sent an impressive volley into the top left corner of the goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Marcelo crossed the ball into the top of the box from the left wing, Fred played the ball down with his chest, and Neymar did the rest.
The two teams traded chances for the rest of the half, with Japan's Keisuke Honda and Brazil's Hulk both nearly getting on the score sheet, but after 45 minutes it was only Neymar who had found the back of the net.
Brazil pull away
Three minutes after halftime, Corinthians midfielder Paulinho doubled the Brazil lead. This time the cross came from the right flank. Dani Alves sent a low ball to Paulinho, who turned and finished past goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima to make it 2-0.
For the rest of the match it was all Brazil. A lone opportunity to Ryoichi Maeda around the hour mark proved to be Japan's only real opportunity in the second half.
The Bundesliga's Hajime Hosogai and Takashi Inui came on late in the match, but neither had much of an effect against the five-time World Cup winners.
Late in stoppage time, substitute striker Jo made the most of an excellent through ball from Oscar to make it 3-0 for Brazil, capping what was a deserved victory for the hosts.
The tournament begins in earnest on Sunday, with Mexico taking on Italy and Spain playing Uruguay. The last teams to begin the competition are Tahiti and Nigeria, who face off Monday.