Robinho has Ireland chasing his shadow

Brazil 2 Republic of Ireland 0

If Fabio Capello left here last night with much to ponder, Roberto Mancini, if he was watching on television, will have been perplexed. On his return to these shores the recalcitrant Robinho delivered an intriguing cameo.

Having forced an own goal from Keith Andrews – a goal which illustrated to Capello how dangerous Brazil are on the counter – Robinho scored himself as a valiant Irish side were eventually brushed aside. If naming him man of the match was somewhat excessive – Kaka led a long list of alternatives – his display was nevertheless more impressive than anything he produced for Manchester City this season.

Robinho not only ran around a lot, he even made tackles. "People say he has been playing bad, but he always looked good when I saw him on the highlights," said Dunga, the Brazil coach. "He has always had a feeling for the national team and was decisive today."

Robinho's commitment was typical in a match which was rather more than a standard friendly. For Brazilians this was about nailing a World Cup place. For the Republic of Ireland it was a chance to show what they would have offered the tournament were it not for their controversial exit at the hand of the French.

To that end Giovanni Trapattoni fielded nine of the XI which started in Paris in the ill-fated second-leg of the qualifying play-off, with only the injured Richard Dunne and John O'Shea absent. Brazil were also at full-strength, aside from the injured striker Luis Fabiano. Ramires was drafted in in midfield with Michel Bastos given another chance in the other available slot, left-back.

The Lyons defender did not make the best of starts, heading a clearance straight to the feet of Robbie Keane who went on to shoot into the side netting, but settled to show promise. The Irish, composed and organised, made the early running with Damien Duff and Kevin Doyle causing problems, notably when they combined after 19 minutes and Doyle brought a smart save from goalkeeper Julio Cesar from Duff's cross.

Brazil had offered little at this stage, just a 25-yard shot from Kaka which flew over, but their threat is always present. This was underlined when right-back Maicon launched a counter-attack. Collecting the ball in his own penalty area he fed Kaka who released Robinho on the right. He slipped in Adriano but the Flamengo striker's shot was blocked, as was Robinho's follow-up.

Kaka's form has been criticised since his summer move to Real Madrid, with Dunga forced to defend him again on the eve of this match. With his every touch accompanied by shrill screams and camera flashes, he began slowly, even being caught in possession by Keith Andrews, but grew in influence. Kaka drew several fouls in dangerous areas (Adriano testing Shay Given in the Irish goal from one free-kick) and helped create the breakthrough.

That came with the seconds ticking down towards half-time, and again showed how dangerous Brazil are on transitions. Gaining possession just outside his own area Kaka drove forward, attracting green shirts towards him, before finding Maicon motoring up on the right. The full-back released Robinho whose low cross was turned into his own net by Andrews with Given stranded.

After the break Brazil steadily took control leaving the Irish chasing shadows. Kaka, his confidence flooding back, was at the centre of everything. Robinho delighted the crowd with a series of stopovers before setting up Bastos, who blazed over. Dani Alves, on as a substitute, dispossessed Sean St Ledger, went round Given, but shot into the side netting. Kaka beat Andrews and crossed for Robinho, who somehow shot wide.

When the substitutes arrived Trapattoni handed Wigan's James McCarthy a debut and Dunga gave Grafite his second cap five years after the first. With Brazil ascendant it was easier for the latter to show his credentials and he was at the heart of the second goal playing one-twos with Kaka and Robinho, who swept his shot past Given. "He has benefited from going back to Brazil," added Dunga of Robinho's return to Santos. "He is happy again."

Less cheerful will be the Milan pair Ronaldinho and Alexandre Pato. Asked what they needed to do to break into the squad, Dunga said: "Everybody has had a chance on the pitch, they had this chance. Now things have been decided."

Republic of Ireland (4-4-2): Given (Manchester City); Kelly (Fulham), McShane (Hull City), St Ledger (Preston North End), Kilbane (Hull City); Lawrence, Whelan (both Stoke City), Andrews (Blackburn Rovers), Duff (Fulham); Keane (Celtic), Doyle (Wolverhampton Wanderers). Substitutes used: Gibson (Manchester United) for Whelan, 55; McGeady (Celtic) for Duff, 55; McCarthy (Wigan) for Lawrence, 66; Best (Coventry City) for Doyle, 77.

Brazil (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio (all Internazionale), Juan (Roma), Michel Bastos (Lyons); Gilberto Silva (Panathinaikos), Felipe Melo (Juventus); Ramires (Benfica), Kaka (Real Madrid), Robinho (Santos); Adriano (Flamengo). Substitutes used: Dani Alves (Barcelona) for Ramires, 58; Grafite (Wolfsburg) for Adriano, 58; Nilmar (Villarreal) for Robinho, 77; Luisao (Benfica) for Lucio, 82; Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim) for Maicon, 83.

Referee: M Dean (England).

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own