GOIANIA, BRAZIL – Japan was of no challenge to Brazil as Makoto Teguramori’s side went down 2-0 at the hands of Neymar & Co. in its final Rio Olympic warm-up on Saturday.
Brazil cantered to a win behind first-half goals from Gabriel Barbosa and Marquinhos ahead of its opening Olympic Group A game against South Africa on Thursday.
Japan, eyeing its first medal since Mexico 1968, launches its sixth successive Olympic campaign against Nigeria in Group B in Manaus, also on Thursday.
Playing with the over-23 trio of Shinzo Koroki, Hiroki Fujiharu and Tsukasa Shiotani for the first time, Japan was overwhelmed by the gold-medal favorite from start to finish.
Teguramori’s men failed to produce a single shot on target before halftime as the hosts, led by captain Neymar who Japan had no answer for, buried them in their own half.
Goalkeeper Kosuke Nakamura barely kept out Lazio midfielder Felipe Anderson in the 18th minute, and Gabriel Jesus fired just wide three minutes later, turning for a volley from the heart of the area.
Brazil went ahead three minutes past the half-hour, when Gabriel Barbosa’s effort deflected into the net off defender Naomichi Ueda, wrong-footing Nakamura in the process.
Rogerio Micale’s side continued to pour it on, Thiago Maia slamming the bar in the 38th minute as did Neymar a minute later with a curling free kick from 25 meters out.
The Brazilians doubled their lead with four minutes left in the half, unmarked Paris Saint-Germain center-half Marquinhos nodding in Neymar’s corner from the right.
Japan had its best — and only — chance of the match on the hour, when second-half substitute Ryota Oshima found himself with a free opportunity in the box on a short counter.
But Oshima, as he has made a habit of doing for Kawasaki Frontale, took an extra touch that allowed the Brazilian defense to recover and snuff out his shot.
Brazil was in cruise control the rest of the way, comfortably keeping the ball away from the visitors and sealing the victory to the delight of a crowd craving the nation’s first Olympic gold.