Sat, Oct 13, 2012 - Page 18 News List

Iraq prove no match for Brazil in Malmo friendly

AFP and AP, MALMO, Sweden

Brazil’s Ramires, left, and Iraq’s Samer Saeed challenge for the ball during their international friendly at the Swedbank Stadion in Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday. Brazil won the game 6-0.

Photo: Reuters

Brazil hit Iraq, coached by former Brazil great Zico, for six in the two countries’ first ever full international meeting on Thursday.

After a lovely through ball from Neymar, Chelsea midfielder Oscar scored in the 21st minute at the Swedbank Stadion in Malmo, Sweden. He then made it 2-0 five minutes later.

Real Madrid’s Kaka putting the South American giants further ahead shortly after the restart.

Russian-based Hulk added Brazil’s fourth just before the hour mark with Santos striker Neymar and Lucas, set to join big-spending French side Paris Saint-Germain in January, completing the 6-0 rout.

Iraq rarely threatened, with only Younis Mahmood twice going close in the second half and Humadi Ahmad causing concern for goalkeeper Diego Alves in added-time.

Zico substituted five players in the second half in an attempt to lift his team. However, his decision to remove the experienced Mahmoud surprised the largely Iraq-supporting crowd.

“If we had lost 6-0 to Iceland I would have been worried, but losing to Brazil was not a problem,’’ Zico said.

“We did well. We scored six goals, that says it all,’’ Brazil coach Mano Menezes said, adding that Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri “was one of the best players tonight, he made some fabulous saves.’’

Kaka was involved for the first time since Brazil were beaten in the quarter-finals at the 2010 World Cup by the Netherlands.

“I feel great and I am happy to be back in the national squad, to be playing with young players,” Kaka said.

Iraq turned to Sweden to stage the game after world body FIFA refused to allow them to play home matches following a chaotic match against Jordan in the city of Erbil, capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

The sound of drums — not samba, but Arabic — dominated the stadium in Sweden’s third largest city. More than 14,000 tickets were sold for a friendly that was mostly attended by Iraqis living in the Scandinavian country.

Malmo is one of its most ethnically diverse cities, with 40 percent of residents being first or second generation immigrants.

Iraq were keen to meet some top-drawer opponents as they gear up for their World Cup qualifier against Australia in Doha on Tuesday.

Brazil fitted the bill nicely, particularly as they were otherwise free in an international week having already qualified as hosts for 2014.

The Auriverde won an August friendly 3-0 against Sweden in Malmo.

They also lifted their first World Cup in 1958 at the Rasunda stadium in nearby Solna.

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