Robinho And Brazil Lead Italy A Merry Dance

Brazil's attacking talent was at its creative best as a devastating first-half saw the South Americans register an insurmountable 2-0 lead. Elano and Robinho netted the strikes, to which the world champions had no reply...

Brazil 2-0 Italy

Dunga has endured the criticism of his native press for the cautiousness displayed in his usual starting XI; tonight's line-up did indeed feature his preferred two holding midfielders, but also allowed for the swashbuckling talent further up the field to wreak majestic damage.

Robinho, Ronaldinho and Elano led the samba charge and the trio had all made their mark on proceedings during a romping opening half.

Elano scored the opener, a goal made by his two partners in crime, while Manchester City colleague Robinho sealed the win with a special second.

Tricks, flicks, passing and movement abounded as the Azzurri struggled to come to terms with the wizardry in front of them.

The world champions never looked worthy of their crown, and Brazil will take heart at their standard against Europe's very best.


Had Fabio Grosso not netted a third-minute offside goal, one would have had the feeling that Brazil had embarked on the latest round of a Harlem Globetrotters style tour, with the fabled Azzurri playing the part of the fall-guy in the first-half.

Andrea Pirlo's pass found the clever run of Grosso behind a static Maicon and the Lyon full-back finished confidently over Julio Cesar before the strike was dubiously annulled.

However, after that, it was samba time at the Emirates, with Brazil's attacking quartet making a lasting impression on the vociferous and appreciative support.

Robinho, supplied by the marauding Maicon, fired a volley on target after 10 minutes, that incident coming soon after the Manchester City man almost picked the pocket of Fabio Cannavaro inside the Italy area.

Brazil moved up a gear, and within three minutes they were into a deserved lead. Ronaldinho played a pass into the feet of Elano, who laid off to Robinho and continued his box-bound run.

Robinho's first-time pass was almost reached by Nicola Legrottaglie before Elano smashed a cool finish over Gigi Buffon for an attractive opening goal.

Fourteen minutes later and Brazil had cantered into a two-goal lead. Lucio led a characteristic break forward and fed Ronaldinho on the right. His cross found only Andrea Pirlo, but the Milan playmaker was leaden-footed in his own area and meekly relinquished possession to Robinho.

What followed was a moment of unbridled genius. Robinho skipped past Pirlo and bamboozled Gianluca Zambrotta with a flurry of step-overs, before arrowing a low, accurate drive to the far corner.

It took Italy until then to rouse themselves into a response with Daniele De Rossi, the only functioning component of a slipshod midfield, forcing Julio Cesar into a save on the half hour.

There was time for Elano to reply for the Brazilians just before half time   with an exquisite effort that flew just over.

Second half

It was an altogether more competitive Italy that took to the field for the second half, with Marcello Lippi introducing four substitutes at the break in a bid to stimulate his attacking talent.

Giuseppe Rossi almost dragged his side into contention with a left-footed effort immediately after his bow; his angled drive found only the side-netting.

Brazil were still intent on progression up the field though, with Maicon's cross forcing Zambrotta into an uncomfortable clearance inside his own six-yard box.

A more even second half continued, with the presence of Luca Toni providing a handful for Juan and Lucio. The Bayern Munich forward had the ball in the net on 65 minutes following a fine pass from Pirlo. However, before bundling the ball past Julio Cesar, the burly frontman controlled Pirlo's pass with his arm and the effort was correctly ruled out by Howard Webb.

There followed a lull, with a number among the Italy contingent acquiring yellows for some archetypal Calcio tackling. Brazil were unable to breach the opposition defensive lines, as a somewhat cynical rigidity was instilled in La Nazionale. 

Indeed, as the spectacle ebbed towards its conclusion, Italy almost halved the deficit. A lively Rossi reached the byline following a quick throw-in and centred for Toni. The striker had half a yard of space and steered his shot on target, but was repelled by a terrific instinctive save from Julio Cesar.

Italy pressed to the last; Grosso, the best in show for the Azzurri on the night, forced Julio Cesar to save a goal-bound free-kick and from the resulting corner, Toni was again on target.

However, this was a night that belonged to those in yellow; Dunga's side threw off the shackles to record an impressive win, and end Lippi's quest for a record 32-game undefeated streak.


Brazil (4-2-2-2):
Julio Cesar - Maicon, Marcelo, Juan (Thiago Silva 77'), Lucio - Gilberto (Josue 89'), Melo - Elano (Dani Alves 70') , Ronaldinho - Robinho (Julio Baptista 89'), Adriano (Pato 80')

Italy (4-3-3):
Buffon - Zambrotta, Grosso, Cannavaro, Legrottaglie - Pirlo (Dossena 75'), Montolivo (Perrotta h/t), De Rossi (Aquilani 58')- Pepe (Camoranesi h/t), Di Natale (Rossi h/t), Gilardino (Toni h/t)


Elano 13', Robinho 27'




Italy: Perrotta, Grosso 68', Zambrotta 76'

Howard Webb

Peter Staunton,