A friendly match between two teams that had qualified already for the 2018 World Cup saw Brazil take the win 3-1. Real Madrid’s Casemiro and Marcelo both started for the Brazilian squad, and Casemiro would play the entirety of the match.
The first half was clearly one-sided as Brazil went up 2-0 in just seven minutes between goals; before making it 3-0 in the 36th minute.
Our old pal Neymar had himself quite the interesting match. The first goal, just 10 minutes into the match, was a penalty kick awarded to Brazil, which Neymar promptly converted for the first goal. Just minutes later, another penalty kick was awarded to the Brazilian side which again was given to the boot of Neymar. This time, however, Neymar tries the opposite corner and is stopped, something he does quite a lot of from the penalty spot. Bit of a controversy as many believed it was selfish of Neymar to take the second kick as it was Gabriel Jesus who was taken down. Given that Jesus has been stunning for Manchester City this season so far, many would question Neymar’s ego in this situation.
Nevertheless, leave it to a Real player to make amends for Neymar’s missed kick. Just shortly after, literally like 20 seconds, a Brazil corner deflects off a Japanese defender and trails its way back to Marcelo, who absolutely rips it into the net. Marcelo increases the lead to 2-0 on a beautiful shot and Brazil was well on their way.
With seven minutes in-between two goals, it would be a while longer before Brazil would take the 3-0 lead into halftime. Gabriel Jesus would get some vindication for not taking the penalty kick as he had the final strike for Brazil. At just 20 years of age, it seems he’s already well on his way towards being the next big Brazilian football star. Manchester City have an absolute gem in this youngster. It would be even better if he took Benzema’s spot.
The Second Half
Not much by the way of goals in the second half of play until the 63rd when Japan would get one back, cutting the deficit to 3-1. Japan took several yellow cards in a short span of time. Marcelo was subbed off for Juventus’ Alex Sandro and, as mentioned before, Casemiro would go on to finish the entire match. Neymar took a yellow card, but was also responsible for Japan’s Ideguchi getting one later on a foul. The match could’ve been much closer in the final score after a free kick by Inui was headed into the goal by Kenyu Sugimoto, which was then promptly flagged for offside.
Though it seems like Japan was dominated, the stats were very similar for both sides. Japan had twice as many corners and more dangerous attacks. Japan took four less shots — six in total — and only two of them were on target. This was the difference. Brazil was able to put their shots on target and convert them, whereas Japan missed many of their shots and chances. Japan is a decent side, but Brazil is much better, both on paper and on the pitch, and certainly has a higher level of talent. Of course, this was just an exhibition match so it’s not very relevant to how Japan will play in the World Cup, though I don’t expect them to get close to the Final.
All in all, Marcelo and Casemiro both had good performances. Marcelo defended well and also scored the all-important second goal that doubled the lead for Brazil. While there’s no highlights of Casemiro’s that stood out, he did well in his natural center defensive-midfield role and kept from it being close in the final score. Brazil should head into next summer with a head full of confidence in their rejuvenated squad. Much more young talent this time around with the likes of Coutinho, who didn’t start, and Jesus. It’ll be interesting to see how far they can go without Luiz Felipe Scolari. Hopefully they don’t run into Germany this time around.
If you are interested in following and keeping up with Marcelo and Casemiro, Brazil will face England at Wembley next Tuesday. Another friendly, and it should be a good one.