Pressure? What pressure?
In the first match of the 2013 Confederations Cup, Brazil made easy work of Japan, winning 3-0. The goals came from Neymar, Paulinho and Jo. It was a great start to what should be an enjoyable tournament.
The Confederations Cup is largely just a warm-up event for the host of the World Cup, but that doesn't mean fans can't have fun watching it. If the rest of the tournament is as good as the first match, the World Cup will be a massive letdown.
The win was even more important as Brazil are the host this summer, as they will be next year for the World Cup.
Some are of the opinion that hosting the World Cup will be more of a hindrance to Brazil than it is a help. It's certainly a valid point. Few countries expect more from their national team than Brazil, and with the World Cup at home, those expectations will be through the roof. Anything less than lifting the World Cup Trophy will be a disappointment.
Even a year out from the event, the natives are starting to get restless as the team has yet to hit its stride under Luiz Felipe Scolari. As the host, Brazil has automatically qualified for the World Cup. On one hand, it's nice to have that spot already secured. On the other, you miss out on qualifying matches with which you can get ready for the tournament.
The Confederations Cup is a great opportunity for players to get noticed by Scolari so he can start finalizing his starting XI. He'll like what he saw from the players he selected today, Neymar especially.
If you were to just look at the scoreline, you would have thought the Brazilians dominated from beginning to end, and Japan offered nothing in the match.
The numbers tell a different story, though.
Brazil were obviously the aggressors, as you would expect considering their edge in talent. In a way, it's almost a positive that they had so few shots on goal relative to their possession. With the weight of expectation so great, the Selecao could have fallen into the trap of pushing too much forward too quickly and spoiling their best chances.
Instead, they were composed on the ball and content to squeeze the life out of Japan. Scolari had his team in the perfect mindset coming into the match. The players weren't over-hyped or cautious. They were confident and fed off the Estadio Nacional crowd.
When Neymar started off with that beautiful half-volley for Brazil's first goal, you knew exactly how this match was going to finish.
Group A is absolutely loaded with quality teams. For Brazil to have put in a performance like this in the first match, they laid a major marker down for their opposition.
On the other sideline, the future doesn't look so bright for Japan. They didn't play poorly, but they were simply overmatched by the Brazilians. Despite the one-sided score, Alberto Zaccheroni has some positives to take from this loss.
Who will win Group A?
When they did get possession, Japan were a threat. The problem was actually getting the ball in the first place. With Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa in midfield, Japan always have a chance of winning. But those players can't impact a match without the ball.
It's understandable that Zaccheroni would want to play on the counter. He just has to make sure that his team has enough opportunities to break and that it makes the most of those chances.
Unfortunately for Japan, the road doesn't get much easier from here. They still have dates with Mexico and Italy ahead. Mexico have been sputtering, but the Italians will be a very tough matchup.
This was a very good performance from Brazil, and one that should have the supporters looking forward toward the rest of the tournament. On the other side, Japan should look forward to not having to play Brazil again in the group stage.