Ailing Neymar scores all four as Brazil rout Japan

Tue Oct 14, 2014 10:28am EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Neymar shrugged off a cold to score all four goals in a sumptuous display as five-times world champions Brazil routed an under-strength Japan 4-0 in a friendly on Tuesday to maintain Dunga's perfect start since returning as coach.

The Brazilian skipper took his impressive tally to 40 goals in 58 matches after his strikes against the shabby Asian champions on a patchy National Stadium pitch deemed "far short of international standards" by Singapore's Football Association.

Neymar had no problems with the poor surface, however, as the Barcelona striker entertained the 51,577 crowd with flicks and tricks around his cool finishes in a display fitting of the famous yellow number 10 jersey.

Brazilian great Pele was a previous wearer of the shirt and is the country's record scorer with 77 goals, but the 22-year-old Neymar is sure to better the mark if he continues to deliver such high-calibre displays.

"We have told him he still has a lot of areas where he can improve," Dunga told reporters after making it four wins out of four with no goals conceded since returning in July.

"Now that he is captain he has more responsibility and status in the Brazil team, he has responded well but still looks like he is playing with his friends, yet we still want to see him play even better."

Neymar rattled the post with a free kick just before opening the scoring in the 18th minute when he rounded Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and lashed the ball into an empty net after being put clear by Diego Tardelli.

The goal allowed Brazil, who had been lethargic after the heavy travel schedule and Saturday's 2-0 win over Argentina in Beijing, to slow the tempo against the Asian champions, who were missing the injured Shinji Kagawa and opted to start with Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo on the bench.   Continued...

Brazil's Neymar (10) celebrates after his fourth goal against Japan during their friendly soccer match at the national stadium in Singapore October 14, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su