Brazil downed Germany’s World Cup opponents Japan 1-0 in the Kirin Challenge Cup on Monday afternoon. The Samurai Blue stood up to the Seleção for a long time, but a penalty kick from Neymar brought the decision.
The match, in which Japan fielded four Germany legionnaires in Endo, Itakura, Haraguchi and Tanaka, started with a bang as Neymar fired a first-time shot straight at the left post (2nd half). The match was then evenly balanced, with passive Brazilians on the counter-attack and the Japanese on the run. Time and again, Japan’s goalkeeper Gonda stood out in occasional Brazilian attacks. He saved from Raphinha (19th) and saved two dangerous shots from Neymar (27th, 42nd). Japan played along well, but without any real danger
After the break, Brazil stepped up a gear but could hardly find a gap against a well-defended Samurai Blue. Instead, Itakura had a great chance, but he was surprised by the rebound at his feet and failed to take it (58th). It took until the 75th minute before there was any real excitement in the stadium in Tokyo, which was packed with over 63,000 spectators. After Gonda had saved a dangerous shot by Neymar, Casemiro hit the crossbar (75th). But that was not all: the penalty whistle blew for Richarlison, who had been fouled before taking the shot. Neymar stepped up to the spot and casually tucked the ball into the left corner. Japan ran on for the last quarter of an hour, but apart from an Endo header (85th) they were no longer really dangerous and so it remained 1-0 for the Seleção.