Japan is the current Asian champion, has been to five straight World Cups, and has produced talents like Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda. With Javier Aguirre having taken over for Alberto Zaccheroni, the Samurai Blue continues to have a experienced, accomplished head coach. By this point, it should go without saying: The team’s no pushover.
Neymar, however, has offered a rebuttal. Today in Singapore, where Japan faced off against Brazil, the 22-year-old scored his 40th international goal, remarkable not only because of his age but because of his career total before kickoff: 36. Finishing a perfect hat trick in the 81st minute, the Seleçao captain scored all his team’s goals in a 4-0 victory, Brazil’s fourth straight since Dunga returned as coach:
Suffice to say, people noticed what Neymar was up to – accomplishing something no Seleçao player had done in 14 years:
Or was is 25 years?
The feat also gave us a chance to gawk at Neymar’s ridiculous international record:
That’s what happens when you break into the senior squad at a young age, stay in Brazil, have the virtue of a series of B-team games to kickstart your numbers … and are insanely good at playing soccer. That last part probably should have been listed first, because it’s been a while since Neymar was taking time off from Santos to pad his early international numbers.
Japan didn’t have Kagawa today, and Honda started on the bench, but it’s still Japan (aka, reigning champion of Asia). And for Brazil, it’s still a game far from home. But scoring four goals? It’s Zlatan-esque, something that should wet Barça fan appetites ahead of another star’s return:
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