VIDEO: Neymar scores four goals as Brazil unhinge Japan in friendly
It was a comprehensive day for the Brazilian team, which is picking up the pieces after failure at their own World Cup this summer.
There’s years to go before redemption can be fully realized, but the first steps are being taken in leaps, beating Japan in a friendly 4-0 in Singapore.
While feasting on a Japanese side in even more of a state of flux, the Brazilians peppered Eiji Kawashima’s goal with seven shots on target compared to Japan’s one.
Four of those seven shots went in - all off the foot of Neymar - and the most recent World Cup hosts finished off a near-perfect international break beating Argentina and Japan by a combined 6-0.
Diego Tardelli, who scored a brace against the Argentinians, started up front but it was 22-year-old Neymar who stole the show.
He picked up a first in just 18 minutes when Tardelli sliced a ball through Japan’s defense with ease, and Neymar beat both Kawashima and his tracking defender to slide home into the empty net for a 1-0 lead.
The second came from a superb through-ball from Philippe Coutinho to beat a poorly executed offsides trap, and Neymar was through on goal to easily slide past Kawashima just three minutes after halftime.
Neymar completed his hat trick with 13 minutes to go in the match, when a stinging shot by Coutinho from distance was parried by a diving Kawashima, but the rebound fell right to Neymar’s feet and he finished into the open net.
The fourth and final score came to Neymar off the foot of Kaka, who came into the match in the 76th minute and delivered a brilliant chipped cross to the far post. The 22-year-old soared into the frame and powerfully headed home for the 4-0 lead just four minutes after picking up his third.
The four goals bring him to 40 for his country in 58 matches, and at such a young age he is already the fifth-leading goalscorer in Brazil’s illustrious history. There’s plenty of reach Pele’s mark of 77, but already more than halfway there, it’s without question that he could reach that mark and eclipse it with ease should he continue this pace.