AP Sports Writer
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Only 3 minutes into the match, Neymar got the job done.
The Brazil striker scored early to help Brazil beat Japan 3-0 in the opening match of the Confederations Cup on Saturday, knocking in a firm shot from outside the penalty area.
Neymar connected with the ball after Fred controlled a long cross from Marcelo with his chest. The ball bounced only once before Neymar whacked it in.
"It was a very quick moment where Fred was able to control the ball and I was very lucky to get a fantastic kick and score a goal," said Neymar, who went off in the 74th minute with what appeared to be a minor injury.
"Everything's OK," Neymar said. "Not to worry."
For the 2 minutes following the goal, most of the 67,432 fans at the National Stadium chanted Neymar's name, reveling in the knowledge that their poster boy is already starting to deliver for the national team with a year to go before the World Cup.
Paulinho added the second goal for Brazil in the 48th, deftly controlling a cross from Dani Alves before turning inside and shooting. Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima got his hands to the ball, but it was too powerful for him to stop. Jo got the third, latching onto a through ball from Oscar and sliding it past Kawashima in injury time.
The win put Brazil at the top of Group A with three points. Italy and Mexico will play in the other group match Sunday.
"The reason we were not able to do what we normally do on the pitch is because we went one goal down in the third minute of the first half," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. "This probably shocked us."
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