The home side came out on top in the Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia
Three splendid goals crown an impressive start to the tournament by Brazil, who seem to be coming together nicely.
See? Expertly killing off Japan! Thiago Silva said that up with a marvellous crucning tackle outside his own area. He then played it forward to Oscar, who embarked on a birlliant run topped off with a precision pass into the path of Jo, who slots it under the keeper from the edge of the area.
Brazil expertly squeezing the life out of this game ...
Japan will have three more minutes to mount a sensational comeback.
Inui's first involvement is positive, as he receives the ball at the corner of the box with his back to goal, then spins and gets off a moderate shot that Julio Cesar saves.
Japan substitution: Honda off, Inui on.
Marcelo sends one over the top down the left for the excellent Oscar to chase. The Chelsea man gets there and delivers a decent low cross to the near post. Yoshida read it and punts it out for a throw-in.
Brazil change: Fred off, Jo on. Yes, that Jo.
This is impressive from Brazil, in fairness. Bearing in mind how young this team is and how much pressure they are under, they are developing an accomplished winning habit. They couldn't deal with the expectation at the Olympics last year but they're maturing well.
Japan change: Hosogai on, Endo off. The visitors are not laid down yet and continue to build promisingly when they get the chance but Brazil are mostly stifling them.
Brazil change: Hernanes on, Hulk off.
Brazil substitution: Lucas Moura comes on, which is goof, Neymar goes off, which is bad. "I´m from Brazil," announces Ian Caetano. "I think it's important that the rest of the world knows what we really think about this tournament and the World Cup. Look at these links: http://g1.globo.com/distrito-federal/noticia/2013/06/novo-conflito-entre-manifestantes-e-pm-faz-ao-menos-seis-presos.html and this: http://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/selecao-brasileira/noticia/2013/06/dilma-e-blatter-sao-vaiados-em-abertura-da-copa-das-confederacoes.html And one from youTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IF30ojotZfg"
Freekick to Japan in a promising area. Central, about 27 yards out. Honda fancies it. He bangs it into the wall but Japan follow it up to stop Brazil from clearing it and after a bit of bobble-bobble in the box, it breaks to Honda again and he cracks a fierce low drive at goal from 16 yards. Good save by the keeper.
Neymar is down injured. It doesn't look serious but there could be a few days national mourning all the same.
Neymar knows how to please his crowd. Just as interest appeared to be sagging, he produces a series of foxy tricks and drag-backs to get them squealing again. His cross is cut out but no matter.
A huge cheer reverberates around the ground for reasons that are not clear. It surely can't be because Japan have just won a throw-in. Perhaps they're just trying to stimulate renewed action as the match goes through a lull?
Marcelo and Nyemar work a short freekick wide to Dani Alvez, who miscontrols and then tries to make amends by boinking a loopy cross towards the back stick, where Paulinho meets it with an equally wonky shot.
Snappy play by Japan, as Yoshida pings a low pass into Maeda, who turns quickly and lashes a respectable shot at Julio Cesar from 20 yards. Again the keeper needs two tries to gather it.
Brazil look in complete control, Japan feeding off crumbs.
Japan substitution: Kiyotake off, Maeda on.
Marcelo fails to cut out a lovely low through-ball from Kiyotake but Okazaki can't punish him, slamming a shot just wide from 10 yards.
Dani Alves crosses from the right, Pualinho takes it down and swivels and shoots all in one, crashing it past t he keeper from 16 yards. Great strike!
An entertaining enough game featuring a superb goal. Japan are decent but Brazil are better, with power and great skill. They still lack a little invention from deep, in my view, and more of that would surely help them infiltrate more. A bit of Lucas Moura on the side would help too.
David Luiz's blasts 25-yuard freekick into the wall.
Japan break quickly downfield and Marcelo blocks a shot with his gonads. That's the irrationality of patriotism for you.
Fine save by Kawashima after a lightning break by Brazil and a thunderous low striker by Fred. The keeper got down quickly to push it away.
Lovely effort from Hulk. With a little shimmy he drops his shoulder to outfox Nagatomo and crack a ferocious shot inches wide from the edge of the area.
David Luiz tries a hoof-cum-shot from 60 yards. A gift for the keeper.
Neymar rolls a freekick to Hulk, whose blast from 25 yards is charged down by Honda.
Word from Brazil is that, faced with mass booing before kick-off, Blatter berated the crowd for their lack of "fair play". Impressive that he can keep his sense of humour even in the face of total hostility.
The outbreak of high-pitched hysteria tells us that Neymar is on the ball. He colludes with Fred to try to pick a way through the Japanese defence but the the visitors rumble their plot and clear.
Nakatomo - who this week suggested that Japan are in with a shout of winning next year's World Cup - gives a further demonstration of his optimism by shuffling past Dani Alves and letting fly from 20 yards. There was not as much curl as ambition on his shot, which flopped wide.
Brazil's superior power and athleticism are helping to give them an edge here, as they are winning most duels and shunting the technically sound Japanese off the ball more often than not.
Honda cuts in from the right and unleashes a decent shot that Marcelo blocks. When Japan get the ball they look dangerous and you certainly wouldn't rule them out of scoring a goal or two here. Thing is, Brazil look even more dangerous. My prediction at this stage, then, is 5-3 to the hosts. The BBC, commentating from their vantage point in the future, have yet to alert us to any further goals.
David Luiz plays his way nicely out from the back before feeding Neymar, who beats one man with a slinky trick but then loses possession. "Hi Paul, greetings from Recife, Brazil!" blurts Claudio I. "Guess due to the late BBC switch, you guys missed the extremely loud booing Blatter and Dilma Rousseff got before the game, as they were about to make their pre-game speeches. I am pretty sure Youtube will have the footage asap. Last week protesting has been pretty loud in some cities, probably will continue throughout the Confederations Cup."
I think there's a strong case for Brazil starting Lucas Moura instead of Hulk ... but Hulk has jsut made a strong case for his continued inclusion, barrelling his way into the Japanese box and then firing a dangerous cross into the danger zone, almost forcing an own goal. Japan eventually scramble the ball away.
Japan are showing impressive poise and quality on the ball. Both qualities that Julio Cesar lacked just now when Endo found Honda, who send a bouncing, curling shot at goal from 20 yards and the QPR goalkeeper dealt with it like a QPR goalkeeper, until he grabbed it at the third attempt.
Japan win possession in midfield and suddenly have a promising break, with Hasebe rushing forward with men to either side. But the magesterial Thiago Silva steps in to quash the upstart.
Japan look good when they get the ball but that is not often, and Brazil look even better, playing with great speed and vicious intent. Fred is proving a nice fulcrum and the three tricksters behind him are reveling. "People complain regularly that don't have great talents announcing themselves at World Cups anymore," notes Kari Tulinius. "Even though Neymar's name is well known, for people outside Brazil the only competition to have seen Neymar's play was the last Copa America, where no one in the Brazilian national team covered themselves in glory. The Confederations Cup might be the moment for Neymar to announce himself. If he scores anymore goals like that it will certainly be quite a splash he makes."
Judging the the squeals from the crowd every time he gets the ball, Neymar enjoys One Direction status in Brazil. As for his position, it's fluid, as himself, Hulk and Oscar are switching as they please.
Japan are looking good. They're full of enterprise and canny passing and movement, causing the hosts problems when they tear forward. Endo might even have scored a moment ago if he's controlled his volley at the back post, rather than wafting it into the stands.
In the land of magical freekicks, Nakatomo tries to cast a spell of his own: but he lacks sufficient sorcery to beat Julio Cesar from 25 yards.
BBC's commentary is a few seconds ahead of their pictures, meaning Steve Wilson was getting all squishy about Neymar's goal before the ball even came to him. So they've built a running spoiler into their commentary, which is blues. To balance that, I may be a few minutes behind the action ...
Bang! That's a nifty way to kill off talk of the Brazilian superstar being over-rated. Fred chested the ball down to Neymar, whose struck it sweetly on the half-volley into the top corner from 20 yards. Way to start this tournament!
Brazil make a confident start to their first competitive match in 700 days, stroking the ball deliberately around the back before working their way forward to Hulk, whose low cross to the near post is cleared.
With seconds to spare, the pictures arrives and so we can see that Brazil kick off the Confederations Cup.
ITV? The football's about to start: put it on!
So Brazil name an unchanged starting line-up for a third match in a row, suggesting Scolari's plans are taking a definite shape, though it remains to be seen whether Neymar will start in his preferred position - wide on the left. He didn't start there against France but was then moved there and changed the game, with Brazil running out handy 3-0 winners.
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Oscar, Gustavo, Paulinho, Fred, Neymar, Hulk.
Subs: Jefferson, Fernando, Lucas Moura, Hernanes, Dante, Filipe Luis, Jean, Rever, Bernard, Jo, Jadson, Cavalieri.
Japan: Kawashima, Konno, Nagatomo, Uchida, Yoshida, Endo,
Honda, Kiyotake, Kagawa, Hasebe, Okazaki.
Subs: Nishikawa, Inoha, Gotuko Sakai, Havenaar, Hosogai, Nakamura, Kurihara, Maeda, Inui, Takahashi, Hiroki Sakai, Gonda.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)
Paul will be here shortly. In the meantime, here's his tournament preview:
Tournaments are like birthdays: they are as significant as you want them to be. To many the Confederations Cup is a meaningless intrusion on the football calendar, a rinky-dink competition that proves nothing more than Fifa's greed. After all, the World Cup already exists to establish the best team on the planet so what, other than money and attention-seeking, is the point of a mini-tournament between the leading teams from each continent?
It is not just countries who have no hope of ever qualifying for it that are sniffy about it: Germany have twice declined to take part, as did France's 1998 world champions. But this year's edition promises to be different because, perhaps for the first time, all of the participants are taking it seriously, meaning we could witness exciting contests and gain valuable insights into how some of the best teams from around the globe are shaping up before the main event, next summer's World Cup.
Each of the eight competing nations have their own reasons for wanting to do well in the tournament that kicks off on Saturday with an opening match between the only two countries already guaranteed to be at next year's showpiece: the hosts, Brazil, and the Asian champions, Japan, who last week became the first team to reach the World Cup through the qualifiers.
Italy, who complete Group A with Mexico, arrive eager not to make the same mistake as in 2009 when, rather than use the tournament as an opportunity to build, they treated it like a post-season jolly and wound up losing to Brazil and Egypt, a performance that set the tone for their display at the 2010 World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stages without winning a game.
"Four years ago in South Africa we didn't approach [the Confederations Cup] properly and we paid the price," said the Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. "Being together for a month provides a great chance to improve – we know that now."
Italy's attempts to improve will make them one of the most interesting sides to watch over the next fortnight. Cesare Prandelli may have guided the team to the Euro 2012 final during his first tournament in charge but his renovation of the side is far from complete. The manager is still searching for the right blend and identity for the Azzurri. He has generally made Italy faster and more enterprising since taking over two years ago but, with qualification for the World Cup within his grasp, he tried a new formation and more cautious approach away to the Czech Republic this month and was lucky to escape with a 0-0 draw.
The squad he has taken to Brazil shows that he feels the need to continue experimenting, as, alongside stalwarts such as the 34-year-old Andrea Pirlo (whose natural heir, Marco Verratti, is furthering his development at the European Under-21 Championship), there are several relatively inexperienced internationals. Against Mexico Prandelli is considering placing greater emphasis on wing play, with Torino's Alessio Cerci and Lazio's Antonio Candreva possibly being introduced in a bid to ensure better supply to Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy, the blossoming young strikeforce on which Italy are banking. Prandelli's proven open-mindedness means all the players who have travelled to Brazil will believe they have a chance of establishing themselves in his plans if they perform well.
One traditional explanation for Mexico's failure to go far in World Cups is the weakness of their qualification route, which leaves them unaccustomed to facing top-class opponents. That is why they relish the Confederations Cup and more than 110,000 fans turned up to the Estadio Azteca to watch them beat Brazil in the final of the 1999 edition.
That theory does not stand up so well at the moment, as Mexico are struggling to make it to next year's World Cup, lying third in the Concacaf qualification table because of their inability to score regularly. Their manager, José Manuel De La Torre, is still trying to find a formula for alleviating the dependency on Manchester United's Javier Hernández and that task is complicated by the absence through injury of Oribe Peralta, who excelled when Mexico won gold at the London Olympics. However, many of the other members of that thrilling squad are included for this tournament.
The South American champions, Uruguay, are also placed precariously in their World Cup qualification group and seeking a formula that does not rely so much on Luis Suárez or, more precisely, gets the best out of both Suárez and Edinson Cavani so that both of the country's world-class strikers can fire together. Cavani has seldom been as deadly for his country as he is for Napoli, partially because he seldom plays in the same position.
He kept Uruguay's qualification hopes alive by scoring the winning goal against Venezuela this week but Suárez was suspended for that and is back for the Confederations Cup, giving the manager, Oscar Tabárez, further scope to find the right way of accommodating the potentially fearsome pair, as well as Diego Forlán and Southampton's Gaston Ramírez.
In addition to its value in terms of preparing for the World Cup, the Confederations Cup is significant in its own right to Uruguay for the same reason that it is important to their first opponents, Spain. Both countries want to win it to complete their collection of international trophies.
Tahiti will be highly motivated too, knowing they will probably never feature so prominently on the international stage again, though it is doubtful that the Oceania champions' enthusiasm will suffice to make them competitive. Their first opponents, Nigeria, should have far too much quality for them although it is difficult to know exactly what to expect from Stephen Keshi's young side, who have stuttered since winning the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year and had their departure for Brazil delayed by a dispute over unpaid bonuses.
The favourites are, of course, the home side. After drawing with England earlier this month, Brazil beat France 3-0 but now, at last, they get to play competitive matches. That is vital for a manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose methods remain the subject of intense debate, and a squad that features just four players with World Cup experience. Win and they will placate their compatriots, at least for a while. Lose and the pressure could trigger irresistible demands for change before the World Cup.