Brazil 3 Argentina 0: Baptista shows his worth to Arsenal

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The Independent Online

It is understood that one clause in the transfer coup which took Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano from Sao Paolo's urban sprawl to the East End of London is that both are guaranteed a place in West Ham's starting line-up. If the Argentinian pair play as they did yesterday Alan Pardew might find that pledge difficult to keep.

Mascherano was withdrawn at half-time, Tevez shortly after the hour. To be fair it was hard, given their lack of match-fitness, to shine against a Brazilian team whose freshness and vigour begged the question as to why the deposed World Cup holders relied on the old guard in Germany.

The quality of Robinho, Kaka and Lucio was no surprise but the depth of Brazil's golden seam of footballers was illustrated by the identity of their matchwinner. Elano Blumer is a previously unheralded 26-year-old midfielder who plays his football in Ukraine. Yesterday he coolly dispatched a brace of well-worked goals to edge Brazil ahead 34 wins to 33 in this long-standing rivalry. Victory then became a humbling as Kaka robbed Lionel Messi then ran 70 yards before sliding in a third. It was the worst start for Alfio Basile, Argentina's new manager but a delicious first victory for Brazil's new coach, Dunga.

The third new Premiership face on view, Arsenal's latest Brazilian Julio Baptista, inevitably had a better afternoon than either Hammer. Introduced in the final quarter, he produced a bright cameo which featured skill and power. On this brief showing he looked well suited to the English game. Of the new Hammers Basile said: "They are great players who would benefit any team and I think they will grow even more playing in the English league."

Yesterday, however, Mascherano was overrun as, with Juan Roman Riquelme swamped by Gilberto Silva and Edmilson, Argentina functioned only fitfully.

It was not just the presence of the West Ham Two, and the London venue, which underscored the modern game's market forces. None of the starting 22 are based in South America but CSKA Moscow had a player in each XI. But if the growing influence of Russian money was further illustrated by the pre-match appeal for a minute's silence to mark the anniversary of the Beslan school massacre the football was authentically South American. Brazil took control as early as the third minute as Robinho, with a sublime drag-back, released Elano to shoot inside Roberto Abbondanzieri's near-post, aided by the slightest of deflections off Daniel Bilos.

Ten minutes later the Argentinian goalkeeper saved another deflected shot from Elano and he also denied Robinho later in the half after a slick passing move. Throughout the quick thinking and quick feet of Robinho and Messi caught the eye, prompting the thought that both could have featured more during the World Cup. With Ronaldo and Adriano dropped, and Ronaldinho injured - he may be fit to face Wales tomorrow - Robinho partnered Fred, of Lyon, in attack.

Argentina should have levelled after Messi and Luis Gonzalez set up Pablo Zabaleta but the full-back blasted wide. Ten minutes later Kaka exchanged passes with Fred, then released Elano, who scored. There was one final flourish from Aguero, but fellow debutant Federico Inusa mis-hit his volley. Three minutes later Kaka romped away to rub in Brazilian superiority.

Goals: Elano (2) 1-0; Elano (67) 2-0; Kaka (89) 3-0.

Brazil (4-2-2-2): Gomes (PSV Eindhoven); Cicinho (Real Madrid) (Maicon, Internazionale, 65), Lucio (Bayern Munich), Juan (Bayer Leverkusen), Mela (Hertha Berlin); Silva (Arsenal), Edmilson (Barcelona) (Dudu, CSKA Moscow, 68); Elano (Shaktar Dontesk) (Baptista, Arsenal, 72), Carvalho (CSKA Moscow) (Kaka, Milan 58); Fred (Lyon) (Love, CSKA Moscow, 79), Robinho (Real Madrid) (Sobis, Racing Santander, 88).

Argentina (4-1-3-1-1): Abbondanzieri (Getafe); Zabaleta (Espanyol), Coloccini (Deportivo La Coruña), Milito (Real Zaragoza), Rodriguez (Spartak Moscow) (Samuel, Internazionale, h-t); Mascherano (West Ham) (Somoza, Villarreal, h-t); Gonzalez (Porto), Riquleme (Villarreal), Bilos (St Etienne) (Insua, Borussia Moenchengladbach, 71); Messi (Barcelona); Tevez (West Ham) (Aguero, Atletico Madrid, 65).

Referee: S Bennett (England).

Bookings: Brazil: Silva, Robinho. Argentina: Riquelme, Aguero, Milito.

Man of the match: Elano.

Attendance: 59,028.

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