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Rediff.com  » Sports » Fred's brace and Neymar magic give Brazil win over Italy

Fred's brace and Neymar magic give Brazil win over Italy

Last updated on: June 23, 2013 12:39 IST

Fred's brace and Neymar magic give Brazil win over Italy

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Goals from Dante, Neymar and a brace from Fred gave Brazil a well-deserved 4-2 victory over Italy on Saturday as the improving hosts made it three wins from three in the Confederations Cup.

With Neymar in sparkling form and Fred always dangerous in front of goal, Brazil were the better team for most of a Group A match they never looked like losing.

Both were sides already through to the semi-finals of the World Cup warm-up so Italy coach Cesare Prandelli freshened things up with five changes from the team that started against Japan in Recife three days ago.

But even though home side Brazil only needed a point to qualify in first place, they were the hungrier side from the off.

"Movement is important and we are doing it well, the variations we have in attack, we change position and it drives the opposition a bit crazy," Neymar told reporters.

Brazil almost took the lead in the first minute when Hulk forced Gianluigi Buffon to get down smartly to turn his shot round the post.


Image: ante of Brazil (13) scores his team's first goal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Brazil at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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Neymar involved in the opening goal

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New Barcelona signing Neymar should have done better than blaze wide after Oscar set him up with a lovely flick in 24th minute and he was unlucky to see one shot blocked after a lovely backheel and one-two on the edge of the box a few moments later.

It was Neymar again who was involved in the opening goal right on halftime. His inswinging free kick from the left was headed goalbound by Fred and when Buffon could only parry it out, Dante was on hand to sidefoot the ball home.


Image: Fred of Brazil (9) celebrates with team mate Marcelo (6) as he scores their fourth goal during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Italy and Brazil at Estadio Octavio Mangabeira
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

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Giaccherini equalised for Italy

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Italy grabbed an equaliser six minutes into the second period and it was Mario Balotelli who played a key role.

His sublime backheeled flick put Emanuele Giaccherini free and he hammered his angled drive past Julio Cesar.


Image: Italy's Emanuele Giaccherini celebrates after scoring a goal during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Brazil at the Arena Fonte Nova
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Perfect shot from Neymar

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Their lead did not last long, however. Four minutes later Neymar won a dubious free kick right on the edge of the box and he took the kick himself, curling a perfect shot into the top corner of the net past a helpless Buffon.

Fred increased Brazil's lead in the 66th minute when he latched onto a long ball from Marcelo and held off a defender before smashing the ball into the roof of the net from six metres.

Italy were down but not out and they snatched a goal back in the 71st minute. The Brazilian defence failed to clear a corner and the ball fell to Giorgio Chiellini, who fired home despite Brazil protests that the referee had already blown for a foul on Balotelli.

Fred put a more accurate sheen on the result when he scored a fourth just a minute from time. Buffon was unable to hold a Marcelo shot and the striker was on hand to slot home.

The win was Brazil's 10th successive Confederations Cup victory and the team's fourth in a row under coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.


Image: Brazil's Neymar (not in picture) scores a goal on a free kick during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match against Italy at the Arena Fonte Nova
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Hernandez scores twice for Mexico

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Javier Hernandez scored two headers and missed a stoppage time penalty as Mexico notched a 2-1 consolation win over Japan which sent their opponents home pointless from the Confederations Cup on Saturday.

Both teams had already been eliminated after losing their opening two Group A matches but the win may easy the pressure slightly on Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre, whose team have also been unimpressive in the World Cup qualifiers.

Hernandez, who scored all three of Mexico's goals at the tournament, put his side ahead in the 54th minute when he met Andres Guardado's cross with a perfectly timed run and placed his header past Eiji Kawashima.

He struck again 12 minutes later from close range after Hiram Mier flicked on a corner at the near post.


Image: Mexico's Javier Hernandez (14) celebrates after scoring a goal against Japan during their Confederations Cup Group A soccer match at the Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte
Photographs: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

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Okazaki equalised for Japan

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Shinji Okazaki tapped in with four minutes left to give Japan some hope of claiming their first point, but Mexico should have restored their two-goal lead when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Hernandez.

The striker was guilty of a double miss as his kick was saved by Kawashima and he then hit the crossbar from the rebound.

Mexico deserved the win overall with Guardado also hitting the post with a flying header five minutes before halftime.


Image: Shinji Okazaki of Japan scores a goal in the 86th minute past Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico during the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A match between Japan and Mexico
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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