Brazil knocked world champions
Italy out of the Confederations Cup with three quick goals just
before halftime to earn a 3-0 victory on Sunday.
Strikes from Luis Fabiano after 37 and 43 minutes and an own
goal from Andrea Dossena just before the interval left the
holders top of Group B and set up a semi-final against hosts
South Africa in Johannesburg on Thursday.
But the fate of Italy hung in the balance until the dying
moments as it depended on the result of the match between Egypt
and the United States in Rustenburg.
The U.S., who started the night bottom of the group with no
points after two straight defeats, qualified ahead of Italy and
Egypt on goal difference following a shock 3-0 win.
The defeat completed a miserable tournament for Marcello
Lippi's men who were also beaten by Egypt and finished in third
It was also a bittersweet night for captain Fabio Cannavaro
who equalled Paolo Maldini's record of 126 appearances for his
country but was helpless to stop Italy conceeding three goals in
the first half of an international for the first time since 1957
when they lost 6-1 to Yugoslavia.
Only goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and the woodwork stopped
them conceding as many to the Brazilians who head into the last
four having scored 10 goals in three group matches.
It was no real surprise when Brazil went ahead after 37
Luis Fabiano scored with a shot on the turn which left
Buffon floundering and he doubled the advantage after a
brilliant move between Robinho and Kaka.
Robinho let the return pass roll past him, Daniele De Rossi
committed himsel and left Luis Fabiano with time to chip the
ball over Buffon.
Worse was to come for the world champions as another driving
run from Robinho forced the unfortunate Dossena to turn the ball
past Buffon and send the Brazilians into raptures.
Brazil could have been 5-0 up at halftime after hitting the
woodwork twice through Ramires and a deflection off De Rossi.
Brazil eased off in the second half as Italy looked for the
goal that would have prevented their exit, but Brazilian keeper
Julio Cesar made fine saves to thwart them.
It was Brazil's second win over Italy this year after
beating them 2-0 in London, leaving the world champions
searching for their first win over their old rivals since Paolo
Rossi's hat-trick gave them a 3-2 victory at the 1982 World Cup.