Brazilians say narrow win over Egypt a warning

Jun 17, 2009 - 7:49 AM By TALES AZZONI Associated Press Writer

ATTERIDGEVILLE, South Africa(AP) -- A narrow win over Egypt has put Brazil on alert at the Confederations Cup.

The five-time world champion outplayed Egypt on Monday in Bloemfontein but barely escaped with a 4-3 victory thanks to a last-minute penalty conversion by Kaka.

The Brazilians blamed the sub-par performance on exhaustion from recent World Cup qualifiers and excessive traveling, but acknowledged they need to improve before their second Group B match against the United States on Thursday.

The Brazilians went back to work on Tuesday with a light training session in which the reserves saw most of the action.

While the starters just ran around, the second-stringers played a practice match against the youth team of the local club Super Sport United, winning 2-0.

On Monday, Brazil opened a 3-1 first-half lead behind Kaka, Luis Fabiano and Juan in front of 27,851 fans at Free State Stadium, but defensive mistakes allowed Egypt to score twice within a minute early in the second half.

"There is no doubt that this match should come as a warning," midfielder Gilberto Silva said. "I don't remember Brazil allowing two goals in one minute and it's been a long time since we allowed three goals in a match. It should be a warning for all of us so it doesn't happen again."

It was the first time in 57 matches that Brazil conceded three goals since a World Cup qualifier against Argentina four years ago.

"We had more problems than we expected," Fabiano said. "We were all a bit tired, but we have to find ways to get over that and avoid more difficulties in the next match."

Brazil coach Dunga said the team's exhaustion in the second half led to a tactical mistake that allowed the Egyptians to come back.

"We should have played back a bit instead of trying to push forward at that time, and in the end we gave Egypt too much space," Dunga said. "But that's natural because the players were exhausted."

Dunga said he saw some positive aspects in Brazil's performance.

"Despite being tired, the players fought until the end to get the victory," the coach said. "That was important to see."

Brazil played at Uruguay and hosted Paraguay in qualifiers shortly before arriving in South Africa. Players complained they haven't been able to sleep well since landing on Thursday because of the five-hour time difference between the two countries.

"Things should get better as we spend more time here and get used to everything," captain Lucio said.

Dunga said he may make changes in his lineup against the United States, depending on his players' condition.

AS Roma defender Juan, coming off a muscle injury, was the only player who did not participate in the team's afternoon practice session and could be one of the players rested by Dunga on Thursday.

"It was already expected that I could rest in some of the matches," Juan said.

Brazil and World Cup-holder Italy - a 3-1 winner over the United States on Monday - lead Group B with three points each. The top two teams will reach the semifinals.

Brazil will face Italy in its third and final group match on June 21.

Brazil is trying to become the first team to win three Confederations Cup titles, one more than France. Brazil also can join France as the only team to win consecutive titles.

No one has shouted yet.
Be the first!