Brazil and Cote d'Ivoire notch wins

New samba coach Menezes overseas 2-0 win over US as Italy lose to Africans in London.

    Toure, centre, keeps solid in defence after scoring the winning goal for Cote d'Ivoire [EPA]

    After a World Cup where they failed to live up to expectations, a new-look Brazil team beat the United States 2-0 in the first match under new coach Mano Menezes.

    As a round of pre-season friendlies take place around the world this week, an experimental Italy side lost 1-0 to Cote d'Ivoire in London following their disastrous World Cup defence.

    The Africans' first match after the departure of Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson got off to a winning start as Kolo Toure's header gave them victory at Upton Park.

    In New Jersey, a bright and lively performance from the Brazil team was in stark contrast to the downbeat displays of the Dunga squad knocked out in the quarter-finals by the Netherlands in South Africa.

    Goals from debutant winger Neymar and striker Alexandre Pato were enough to see off the hosts.

    "We enjoyed to play, I was happy, happy to be back. It's fun to play with great players with skill but we also know we have a responsibility to work hard," Pato, who missed out on the World Cup after an injury-plagued season, told the Reuters news agency.

    Neymar, one of a trio of Santos players playing behind Pato in attack, along with Robinho and Paulo Henrique Ganso, was particularly impressive and relished being around his club mates.

    'Happy football'

    "The team felt very confident, the coach told us to play how we play at club level and we played a happy football," Neymar said.

    Menezes has had little time to work with his new team and his decision to inject a distinctly Santos-flavoured attack paid off in his first attempt to create a more fluid form of soccer.

    "This was a step forward in terms of our ideas and vision and there will be more. The way we set up avoided the risk of a lack of chemistry," he said.

    "I thought that the way that we performed reflected our style and our philosophy. It was not so much about the practice that we did but about the talent of the players."

    While there was nothing at stake on a sodden night in east London, the Cote d'Ivoire players will have had in the back of their minds the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations 2012 qualifiers.

    Interim coach Francois Zahoui, assuming he is still in charge for the first qualifier against Rwanda in early September, will have been pleased by the showing of his side against an Italy team keen to start afresh under new coach Cesare Prandelli.

    Zahoui continued where Eriksson left off, with every member of his starting line-up having travelled to South Africa.

    Toures on tour
     
    As well as Gervinho and Didier Zokora, Kolo Toure and his brother Yaya were involved from the off, with the latter playing his second game in England following his transfer from Barcelona to Manchester City.

    Italy went close to going ahead just two minutes into the game, after the Azzurri were awared a free-kick just outside the box for Didier Zokora's handball.

    But Mario Balotelli, one of three Italians making their debut, fired just over the bar.

    Kolo Toure was the man to break the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half.

    Guy Demel floated a cross from the left for the Manchester City defender to nod past Sirigu and spark celebrations from supporters among the 11,176-strong crowd.

    Prandelli rang the changes but although two of his substitutes, Marco Borriello and Mattia Cassani, went close, Italy were unable to equalise.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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