Brazil Blues bounce straight back
- Thu 02 Apr 2009, 10:00AM
- Posted byPeter Ferguson
Brazilian Blues Robinho and Elano were back on form for the comfortable 3-0 victory over South American World Cup qualifying strugglers Peru in Porto Alegre.
The favourites shrugged aside a lacklustre 1-1 draw with Ecuador at the weekend to sweep past their bottom-placed rivals and enhance their prospects of confirming their passage to South Africa next summer.
Striker Luis Fabiano grabbed two goals - the second courtesy of a defence-beating chip by Elano - but Robinho was not far behind as Brazil's outstanding player with a crowd-pleasing performance, and would have scored himself but for a fine save from Leao Butron.
Blues skipper Richard Dunne was at the heart of the Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw against Group Eight leaders Italy in Bari. Robbie Keane snatched the Republic's late equaliser three minutes from time after the Italians had Giampaolo Pazzini sent off just four minutes into his debut.
The Irish stay second, two points adrift, but Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: "To stay unbeaten here in Italy shows everything is possible. Maybe we could have played better but Italy passed the ball very well and we were a little nervous."
Ryan McGivern came off the bench to help Northern Ireland to a crucial 1-0 win over Slovenia, a result that keeps them top of Group Three with a realistic chance of qualifying for the first time since 1986.
Ched Evans was a second-half substitute for luckless Wales against Germany, who were without injured captain Craig Bellamy, and although they raised their game Michael Ballack sparked a 2-0 win for the Group Four leaders.