Strikes from Neymar, Marcelo and Gabriel Jesus saw the Selecao end the contest inside the first 45 minutes, before coach Tite made a host of changes after the break as he kept one eye on Tuesday’s clash with England at Wembley.
Brasil Global Tour takes a further look at the game, and break down what Tite might make of the experiments he made at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
DANILO TAKES HIS CHANCE
As expected, Tite named a much-changed line-up for the match with Japan, handing opportunities to a number of his fringe players – including Manchester City full-back Danilo. And the former Real Madrid man didn’t disappoint, singled out by many as the Selecao’s player of the match.
He contributed going forward, overlapping well to link with Willian and create the third goal with a fine cross for Gabriel Jesus. Danilo perhaps provided a more balanced presence at right-back than first-choice Dani Alves, who is considerably more attack-minded. But either way, Danilo is now Tite’s clear choice as reserve right-back.
NEYMAR BOILS OVER
Once again Neymar’s undisputed quality was evident in Lille as the Selecao’s no.10 stole the show in the early stages, opening the scoring from the penalty spot. However, he missed a second spot-kick and then his frustrations boiled over after he found himself on the end of some heavy challenges from the Japanese defenders.
The PSG man became increasingly frustrated at the treatment he received, picking up a booking for dissent. It had been an emotional week for Neymar amid rumours of his behaviour with his club and Brazil coach Tite spoke out in his defence at the post-match press conference, bringing an emotional Neymar to tears. After frequently losing his temper under former coach Dunga, Tite will be well aware he will have to help ensure Neymar is settled and focused ahead of the World Cup.
FERNANDINHO AND CASEMIRO COMBINE
While TIte’s preferred midfield trio of Casemiro, Paulinho and Renato Augusto have impressed, the coach has long been keen to trial Fernandinho ahead of Casemiro in the same system. Man City man Fernandinho has been Casemiro’s reserve but on Friday had the chance to operate just in front of the Real Madrid man.
Fernandinho impressed and won a penalty, and also – crucially – offered greater resistance to any counter-attacks the opposition attempted to launch after possession was lost in midfield. And so the small tweak in midfield proved a successful trial by Tite, and one we may see again at some stage – particularly against teams who specifically seek to do their damage in transition.
FAIR PLAY RULES IN BARRANQUILLA
After having lost his place on the right side of midfield to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Willian has spent recent months sending a clear message to Tite: He wants to arrive at the World Cup as a member of the starting XI.
The Chelsea midfielder impressed throughout in Lille. He took on a leadership role in attack, playing the key pass for Brazil’s third goal when he rolled in Danilo to square for Gabriel Jesus. Willian has performed every time he’s been reintroduced into the line-up and has certainly left Tite with the sort of selection headache the coach would welcome.
NEYMAR DICTATES SELECAO RHYTHM
The first-half against Japan was one of the best 45 minutes since Tite’s arrival in June 2016, despite five changes to his preferred starting line-up. The Selecao certainly didn’t let their level drop, attacking with speed and incisiveness as they raced into a three-goal lead by half-time.
They rarely lost possession and kept the ball circulating on the surface and at pace. There was also more individual play as a number of the those on show were clearly out to impress the coach. While the second-half saw a flurry of changes, leaving little to be learned, the first period certainly left Tite feeling he has some strength in depth.