Brazil’s quest to win the Confederations Cup on home soil got off to a solid start in Brasilia on Saturday night, David Luiz and Oscar playing the whole of a 3-0 win over Japan.
The pressure was on the Selecao to show their pedigree ahead of the World Cup they host in 12 months’ time with their recent form in friendlies patchy, but quality goals in the tournament’s opening game will have boosted their confidence.
Brazil scored at the start of each half, new Barcelona signing Neymar firing in a bouncing ball from outside the area after Fred chested a ball back for the pick of the goals. Paulinho, who played for Corinthians against Chelsea in the Club World Cup final back in December, netted the second with a firm strike from a low cross that the keeper could reach but couldn’t keep out.
It was only in the latter stages that Japan managed to test Julio Cesar in the Brazil goal and the third goal came in the closing moments, scored by substitute Jo but with much owing to the pass from Oscar.
The Chelsea man had been mobile and energetic throughout, popping up on either flank, but this time he was central when he guided the ball between full-back and centre-back for the former Manchester City striker to slot home.
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side are next in action against Mexico on Wednesday.
Chelsea involvement in the European Under-21 Championships in Israel came to an end on Saturday evening when the Netherlands lost their semi-final to Italy. Patrick van Aanholt, who made his first appearance of the tournament in the final group game, was back on the bench and remained unused as former Chelsea striker Fabio Borini netted the only goal with 79 minutes played.
Daniel Pappoe, a centre-back in the Chelsea Under-21 squad, has been called up by Ghana for the Under-20 World Cup which begins in Turkey on 21 June, and his team have been playing a warm-up four-team tournament, the Valais Youth Cup, in Switzerland.
Pappoe played in the first game against Kosovo which Ghana won on penalties after a 2-2 draw. He was on the bench for the final against Brazil, which was also decided by a shoot-out after a 1-1 draw, the South American side eventually victorious.