Salvador - Goals from Dante, Neymar and a brace from
Fred gave Brazil a well-deserved 4-2 victory over Italy on Saturday and enabled
them to preserve their 100 percent record 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.
With both sides already through to the semi-finals
of the World Cup warm-up, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli made five changes from
the team that started against Japan in Recife three days ago and opted to pack
But even though the home side only needed a
point to qualify in first place, they were the hungrier side from the off.
Brazil almost took the lead in the first
minute when Hulk forced Gianluigi Buffon to get down smartly turning his shot
round the post.
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 half-time. His in-swinging 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.
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.
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