Brazil can improve after routing Japan

Posted by Jonathan Costa, ESPN Stats & Information

Brazil opened the 2013 Confederations Cup in convincing fashion with a 3-0 victory over Japan on Saturday. It was Brazil's eighth straight win in the tournament, since a 2-2 draw with Japan in 2005. Here's a look back at Brazil's opening-match win:

• Neymar provided the tournament’s first goal with a 30-yard strike in the third minute, the fourth-fastest goal in Confederations Cup history and the quickest by a Brazilian. It was Neymar’s 21st goal in his 35th appearance with Brazil and was his fourth in his past five appearances.

After that goal, Neymar’s impact on the game was a mixed bag. He managed the most touches in the attacking third of any player (34) and created two chances, but he completed only 16 of 23 passes (69.6 percent) in the attacking third and completed none of his four open-play crosses. He also managed only two touches in the penalty area all match, one in each half.

• Brazil extended its tournament records in wins (19), goals (67) and clean sheets (16) with the victory over Japan. No other team has more than nine wins (France), 33 goals (Mexico) or six clean sheets (France and Japan).

• Brazil was able to control the play in the attacking third, with 172 touches to Japan’s 98. Brazil also completed more passes (126-71) at a higher rate (68.1 percent to 62.8 percent) and forced Japan to turn it over eight times in the attacking third.

Only four Japanese players managed at least 10 touches in the attacking third, and seven Brazilian players managed that.

• One area Brazil struggled with was with open-play crosses, completing only 2 of 17 attempts (11.8 percent), one in each half. However, one of the completed crosses was Dani Alves’ assist to Paulinho ahead of his 48th-minute goal that gave Brazil a 2-0 lead.

• Japan has only two wins in the group stage in its past two Confederations Cup appearances (2003 and 2005) and has failed to advance past the group stage in both tournaments. Japan’s seven losses all time at this tournament is a tally one shy of the tournament record of eight shared by New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

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