(Sporting Alert) — Barcelona newly acquired star Neymar is amongst a strong Brazil starting team named for the Confederations Cup – Group A opener against Japan at Estádio Nacional on Saturday.
FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP – June 15, 2013. | LIVE ON ESPN TV
Brazil, the hosts of the tournament, are one of the favourites to lift the title and plenty is expected from Neymar and company, who will entertain the world at next summer’s World Cup.
Joining Neymar in the starting team are Chelsea pair, Oscar and David Luiz, while Hulk, Fred, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Julio Cesar start in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s setup.
Lucas Moura, Dante, Jadson and Hernanes are amongst the substitutes for Brazil.
Brazil have been warned not to lose its opener.
“It is absolutely terrible to play the first match at home and lose it, it really is – you create a bad situation for yourself,” said coach Scolari.
“I do not agree with people who say Japan are not a skillful team with no history.
“They are the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup so they will be very difficult opponents. If we lose…we will have to do what we did in Portugal and win the next two games to qualify.”
Meanwhile, for Japan, the standout name in the starting team is Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa, who is hoping to use the tournament to impress new boss David Moyes, who will take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
Japan have already qualified for next year’s World Cup and will be using the Confederations Cup to not only acclimatized with the Brazilian environment, but to also give some players a chance to prove themselves worthy of earning a place in the squad.
Keisuke Honda, who was doubtful for the contest with a thigh problem has recovered in time to start as well, and will lead the attack Makoto Hasebe and Kagawa involved in the goal getting department.
Brazil defeated Japan 4-0 the last time the two nations met in a friendly match in Wroclaw, Poland last October.
Brazil v Japan
Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Luiz, Marcelo, Oscar, Gustavo, Paulinho, Fred, Neymar, Hulk
Subs: Jefferson, Fernando, Lucas Moura, Hernanes, Dante, Filipe Luis, Jean, Rever, Bernard, Jo, Jadson, Cavalieri
Japan: Kawashima, Konno, Nagatomo, Uchida, Yoshida, Endo, Honda, Kiyotake, Kagawa, Hasebe, Okazaki
Subs: Nishikawa, Inoha, Gotuko Sakai, Havenaar, Hosogai, Nakamura, Kurihara, Maeda, Inui, Takahashi, Hiroki Sakai, Gonda
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal)