LONDON - Brazil turned on the style to beat world champions Italy 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday and end coach Marcello Lippi's bid for a record 32-match unbeaten run. Elano and Robinho scored first-half goals to help Brazil make light of Kaka's absence and put on a performance at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium which belied their coach Dunga's reputation as a dour tactician. "We all know what Robinho can do but we talked about putting pressure on the Italians to recover the ball. He showed good personality and fitted well into the team," Dunga told a news conference. Elano added to the two goals he scored for Brazil against Argentina at the same stadium in 2006 with a fine opener in the 13th minute. He laid the ball back to Manchester City team mate Robinho and picked up the return pass before slotting it past Gianluigi Buffon. Robinho then had the Brazilian section of the crowd at the Emirates in raptures with a brilliant solo goal. Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro's attempted overhead shot was cleared and his opposite number Lucio broke fast downfield before laying the ball off to the right. Ronaldinho, who mixed silky skills with wayward passing all night, crossed poorly and Italy's Andrea Pirlo appeared to have control of the situation. But Robinho robbed him of possession and tricked his way past two other defenders before shooting clinically into the far corner off the post. ROBINHO'S COMMITMENT The defending was poor on both sides but Brazil built their victory on the commitment of their players to win back the ball whenever they lost it, as epitomised by Robinho when he scored his goal. Italy twice had the ball in the net but were denied first when a high Pirlo ball into the Brazil box was brilliantly volleyed past Julio Cesar by left back Fabio Grosso from an offside position. Substitute striker Luca Toni had a second-half effort ruled out after he controlled the ball with his arm under pressure from Lucio and Juan before steering it into the net. Toni might have pulled one back near the end but Julio Cesar blocked his neat close-range flick from a low cross. Lippi said his team had not approached the match positively enough. "We played with some fear," he said. "We had too much respect for Brazil."
10 February 2009
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