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The creature meets its creator - Japan and Brazil to reconvene in Lille

12:00 GMT 06/11/2017
Zico FC Goa
The two sides will resume their historic friendly rivalry this week when the Chevrolet Brasil Global Tour host the duo at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Brazil vs Japan may not be one of the sport’s great rivalries, but it is a fixture steeped in history and one that pits the creature against the creator.

Former Brazil great Zico played a huge role in the sport’s development in Japan after coming out of retirement to join Kashima Antlers.

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The former Flamengo man headed to the Land of the Rising Sun to teach an emerging footballing nation that was desperate to catch up with the rest of the developed football world and Zico’s role in their emergence cannot be overstated.

Japanese tend to treat Brazilians with a lot of respect and admiration. There is always a jovial atmosphere when the Selecao face the Samurai Blue – and Friday’s Brasil Global Tour clash in Lille will be no different.

With the World Cup 2018 just around the corner, Japan see the test as vital to their preparations for the big show in Russia – and they will be desperate to record what would be their first ever victory over Brazil. 

Full-back Bismarck scored the first goal between the two teams, as the Selecao triumphed 1-0 in a 1989 friendly in Rio de Janeiro. Curiously, it was during a three-year period when Japan wore a red strip to match the national flag.

Brazil and Japan have met seven time in friendlies, with the Selecao triumphant on every single occasion. Their last meeting came on the Brasil Global Tour in 2014, when Neymar hit all four goals in a 4-0 win in Singapore. In addition to friendlies, the two sides have also gone head-to-head in the World Cup.

In 2006, they met in the group stage and Carlos Alberto Parreira’s side ran out 4-1 winners. Zico, one of the greatest idols in Brazilian football history, was sat in the opposite dugout that day, having been appointed Japan coach in 2002.

Japan took the lead through Keiji Tamada, but Brazil equalised through Ronaldo, who helped himself to another as Juninho and Gilberto rounded off what proved a comfortable victory.

That was the one and only time Japan and Brazil met at the World Cup, but they have clashed three times in the Confederations Cup, bringing one victory for Brazil and two daws – including a stalemate in 2001 that saw Japan top the group stage and the Selecao go down to France in the semi-finals.

Japan and Brazil meet once more on Friday, as the five-time world champions will host the Blue Samurai at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.