Saturday, June 25 2022

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Brazil’s Neymar, right, battles for the ball against Japan’s Ao Tanaka during a friendly match at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Monday, June 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

PA

Brazil beat Japan 1-0 in a friendly on Monday thanks to a 77th-minute Neymar penalty after being tripped in the box on a rainy night at Tokyo’s New National Stadium.

It was Neymar’s 74th goal for the national team, leaving him three short of the record held by Pelé. He also scored two penalties last week in a 5-1 win over South Korea as Brazil tested on an Asian tour against two World Cup-qualified sides.

Japan are now winless against Brazil in 13 matches (11 losses and 2 draws). Brazil also extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games. His last defeat dates back to a little less than a year against Argentina in the Copa America final.

Brazil coach Tite was happy to get away with the narrow victory.

“We expected it to be a tougher game, but we also played better against South Korea,” Tite said. We made mistakes that gave them confidence. It’s a good test against a team that is ready for the World Cup.”

Brazil, one of the early favorites along with defending champion France, is grouped with Cameroon, Switzerland and Serbia at the World Cup. Japan have been drawn in the toughest group and are set to face Germany and Spain in Qatar. Costa Rica or New Zealand will occupy the other place.

“Sometimes in the World Cup all you need is to win 1-0, and that’s what we did today,” said Tite.

Brazil had most of the possession and had several chances to score more goals, with Neymar missing a few chances from open play.

Brazil made four changes from the team that beat South Korea. Weverton keeper, defender Thiago Silva, left-back Alex Sandro and striker Richarlison were dropped off on the bench. In their place, Alisson started in goal, Eder Militao and Guilherme in defense, and Vinicius Junior as striker.

Lucas Paqueta hit the post a minute into the game, Fred hit the crossbar 10 minutes later and Raphinha forced Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda into the game’s first save on a close-range shot about 20 minutes later. the start of the game.

Neymar had his best chance midway through the first half but Gonda dove to his left to stop the effort. Gonda denied it again just before half-time, while Raphinha also missed a free-kick late in the period.

Japan posed early threats with Junya Ito trying to cross balls from the right wing, forcing several corners, and also pressed early in the second half failing to test goalkeeper Alisson, who had a quiet night .

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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