Kaka off as Brazil beat Ivorians

South Americans swaggers while New Zealand shock Italy with historic 1-1 World Cup draw.

    Kaka reacts to a harsh second yellow against Cote d'Ivoire [GALLO/GETTY]

    Brazil dashed more African hopes in the World Cup on Sunday by outclassing Cote d'Ivoire to sweep into the second round, while European torment increased with an unseemly rebellion in the French camp.

    Feelings in France are running so high after the team boycotted training that French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked his visiting sports minister to stay on in South Africa to speak to the captain and coach.

    The players' revolt was in support of Nicolas Anelka who was sent home on Saturday for insulting the French coach as the 1998 champions' campaign threatened to implode.

    European misery also included Italy being held to a shock 1-1 draw by New Zealand, rated 78th in the world.

    The 2006 champions now face a fight to avoid a humiliating early exit.

    Five-times champions Brazil's 3-1 victory over one of the stronger African sides in a bad tempered game confirmed Latin American supremacy in the tournament after Paraguay earlier beat Slovakia.

    There was a strong suspicion of handball in the second of two goals by Luis Fabiano and Kaka was controversially sent off just before the whistle for a second yellow card, but Brazil never looked in danger despite a consolation goal from Didier Drogba.

    Cote d'Ivoire coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said Fabiano's second goal should not have been allowed.


    Brazil's perfect record in Group G further sapped African hopes in the continent's first World Cup, with only Ghana now seen with any real chance of qualifying for the second round.


    Chaos engulfed the French camp when players refused to train in protest at the expulsion of striker Anelka for insulting his coach after their shock defeat to Mexico.

    Coach Raymond Domenech had to break up a row on the pitch at their south coast base of Knysna and disgusted team director Jean-Louis Valentin resigned.

    The crisis brought a volley of criticism from former French players back home and prompted Sarkozy's unusual step.

    In yet another shock result at the tournament, New Zealand's All Whites took an early lead against Italy before being pegged back to 1-1 in surely the greatest ever football result for a nation better known for rugby.

    New Zealand fans danced in disbelief after the game.

    In Bloemfontein, a solid-looking Paraguay won 2-0 thanks to a neat flick by Enrique Vera and a late shot from Cristian Riveros to leave them comfortably on track for the last 16.

    Latin American teams have dominated the early stages of the World Cup, the only defeat was among themselves when Chile beat Honduras.

    Brazil and Argentina now look formidable favourites, among other things confounding previous opinions that maverick coach Diego Maradona would be an impediment not an advantage.

    Should Argentina lift the trophy on July 11, it would be a redemption for the mercurial Maradona, whose reputation as one of the world's greatest players was soured for years with his drug problems and other off-field antics.

    In another unpleasant development off the field, Nigeria said midfielder Sani Kaita had been inundated with death threats via email after being sent off in a shock 2-1 loss to Greece.

    "We consider it a very serious matter because this is a young man who is putting his best at the service of his country and football," team spokesman Peterside Idah said, adding that Nigeria's government and Fifa had been informed.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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