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Brazil hit Zico’s Iraq for six

Kaka stars in first international match since 2010 World Cup

Image Credit: EPA
Iraq’s Samal Saed (left) and Brazil’s Neymar fight for the ball during the international friendlymatch at Swedbank Stadion in Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday.
Gulf News

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

Chelsea midfielder Oscar gave the 2014 World Cup hosts a 2-0 lead going into the break in the friendly, with Real Madrid striker 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.

“I feel great and I am happy to be back in the national squad, to be playing with young players,” said Kaka, who was involved for the first time since Brazil’s quarter-final exit at the 2010 World Cup.

The Iraqis turned to Sweden to stage this game with world body Fifa refusing 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.

Iraq were keen to meet some top-drawer opponents as they gear up for their October 16 World Cup qualifier against Australia in Doha.

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.

Kaka revealed his delight at being part of Brazil’s new generation after scoring a goal and setting up another in the thumping win.

In his first international match since the 2010 World Cup, Kaka set up Chelsea midfielder Oscar for Brazil’s first goal before netting with a powerful left-foot finish from a tight angle after a trademark run from midfield, reports Xinhua.

“It has made me very happy to come back into the team, meet the young players and be a part of this new generation,” Kaka told Brazilian media after the match on Thursday.

Brazil coach Mano Menezes opted to start the match without a centre-forward, drawing comparisons with the systems adopted by Spain and Barcelona.

Despite the questionable quality of Iraq’s defence, the strategy worked and appears set to be adopted again by Menezes.

“I think it will depend on our opposition but it’s a way of playing and it came off,” Kaka said.

Neymar, who met Kaka for the first time on Tuesday, praised the Real Madrid star’s seamless return to the international scene.

“It was fantastic to have him in the team, he is a star,” Neymar said.

“We are only going to get stronger. The more we play together, the better we are going to mix as a team.”