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The Camden Cad
Aug 24, 2004
North London
Brazil 4-3 Egypt

Kaka 5, 90 Zidan 8, 58
Fabiano 12 Shawkey 57
Juan 37

Now this is much more like it. After an insipid first day offered up only an uncomfortable mismatch and a desperately dull bore-draw, day two of the Confederations Cup finally delivered some excitement. Brazil were stifled and surprised by their Egyptian opponents who refused to give up on a game that appeared to be over by half-time. But their victory was delivered not by Kaka or Robinho or Elano or any of the other blue-chip stars in the bright yellow shirts. It was the English referee Howard Webb who saved the day.

It seems that FIFA, unofficially at least, are now using video technology in their tournaments. Just as Zindine Zidane was sent off after the unprecedented intervention of the fifth official, Brazil received an injury time penalty after someone passed word to Webb that an offence had been committed. A late shot, fired in on Egypt's goal, was handled on the line by Ahmed Al Muhamadi, who craftily fell to the ground clutching his face. Webb gave a corner and wandered over to Al Muhamadi, presumably to check the staus of his facial injury. Then, as enraged Brazilian footballers scrambled around him, he put a finger to his earpiece and listened. There is only one televisual feed in the Confederations Cup, as in most competitions, and everyone gets it at the same time. As slow motion footage shamed the nefarious Al Muhamadi, Webb continued to listen. Having apparently been given the verdict from the sidelines, he proceeded to pull out a red card, dismiss the Egyptian and award the penalty to Brazil. Kaka did not need to be asked twice.

Scorned by some as makeweights in this tournament, Egypt are clearly nobody's fools. They may be making hard work of qualification for next year's World Cup, but not for nothing has Hassan Shehata led his team to two successive African Nations triumphs. Even without the injured Amr Zaki and the banished Mido, they still had enough quality to cause Brazil problems, particularly when Mohammed Abo Terika and Mohammed Zidan combined. It was through this partnership that Egypt forged their first and third equalisers, both put away by Zidan. Inbetween those strikes , an uncharacteristically spicy Mohammed Shawkey fired a ripsnorter from the edge of the box that gave Julio Cesar no chance at all. At times, their movement and endeavour was more Brazilian than anything that the Brazilians could offer.

Brazil tend to be the kind of side that you associate with silky, inventive football, but it was their ability to make the best of set-pieces that served them here. A corner and a free-kick from Manchester City's Elano were accurate enough to enable Luis Fabiano and Juan to get onto the scoresheet as well as providing compelling evidence that their sometimes beleaguered manager Dunga is continuing to emphasise simple virtues above the spectacular. Unfortunately, the same problems remain with this side and they should have been all too obvious to him as he watched in horror from the dugout, clad in a terrifyingly fluffy polo neck that struggled all afternoon to free itself from his black blazer.

Brazil won this competition in 2005, but it proved to be no omen of success. They were miserable in Germany, tired and unwilling, their exit typified by Roberto Carlos' failure to even attempt to mark Thierry Henry at the crucual set-piece. There are times when they fail to track back, forget to stick to their runners and gradually ease off from the pressing and containing that is so vital in modern football. Perhaps it is simply a case of fatigue in overworked superstars who would much rather be relaxing on the beach rather than busting their humps for the umpteenth time of asking, but for them to have a chance of winning the World Cup next summer, they must improve their work-rate. They won't always have Webb and his off-screen assistants to rescue them.


Crowd -
Yellow Cards - Moawad (Egypt)
Red Cards - Al-Muhamadi (Egypt)
Brazil -
Julio Cesar 7, Lucio 7, Juan 7, Felipe Melo 6, Kleber 7 (Andros Santos 6, 83rd), Elano 7 (Ramieres 6, 63rd), Gilberto Silva 6, Luis Fabiano 7, Kaka 7, Robinho 6 (Alexander Pato 6, 63rd), Dani Alves 6
Egypt -
Essam El Hadary 6, Ahmed Said 6, Hani Said 7, Ahmed Fathi 7, Hosni Abd Rabo 7 (Ahmed Al Muhamadi 6, 75th), Mohammed Zidan 8, Mohammed Shawkey 7, Sayed Moawad 6, Ahmed Hassan 6 (Ahmed Eid, 51st), Wael Gomaa 6, Mohamed Abo Terika 8