Brazil 0 Portugal 2: Carvalho dances at London's carnival

Mike Rowbottom
Wednesday 07 February 2007 01:14

Two goals in the final eight minutes saw one Brazilian World Cup winner triumph over another here in one of four international friendlies being played in the capital last night. Portugal's manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, who guided Brazil to the 2002 World Cup, saw his side overcome the team guided by 1994 World Cup-winning captain Dunga as Simao swept home a cross from Miguel in the 82nd minute and Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho sealed the match by scoring an almost identical goal from Viana's cross a minute from time.

Competitive matches loom both for Brazil and their former colonial masters. The men in yellow will defend their Copa America title in Venezuela this summer, while Portugal face Euro Championship qualifiers against Serbia and Belgium next month.

Last night was all about bragging rights, however, in front of a sell-out crowd. The stadium may have been this full before, but it has hardly been so noisy. A tapestry of green-and-red and yellow-and-green in the ground attested to the intermingling of supporters who shared not just a language but also an appreciation of football's delicacies.

Home fans at the Emirates hardly lack for tasty passages of play - but such was the talent here as the Samba drums hammered out that it was the footballing equivalent of gorging on cream cake. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, vice-chairman David Dein and the dashing Portuguese chap who manages Chelsea were among those sating themselves from the stands.

Ronaldo had asked on Monday that no one celebrate his 22nd birthday in respect of the recent death of Carlos Silva, the Portuguese Federation's vice-president. Scolari revealed afterwards that his decision to name Ronaldo captain on the night had been prompted by what turned out to be one of Carlos Silva's last requests. The earlier plea was a mark of maturity from the player so often reviled in English stadiums. The Brazilians booed Ronaldo, but only half-heartedly. You sensed that they could not but appreciate the spirit of his game.

That said, a flamboyant series of five successive step-overs was rudely ended by Edmilson, who earned a booking which he deserved but clearly did not regret. The message: Do not mess with Brazil.

For Scolari, this match was no more than a step on the journey towards the 2008 European Championship.

"It was a game between two teams with more or less the same style," he said. "Portugal is like a member of the South American school of football. If it was against England, France or Holland, it doesn't matter. It doesn't have any special flavour." Who knows, he might even believe it.

Brazil (4-2-2-2): Helton; Maicon (Alves, 63), Lucio, Juan (Luisao, h-t) Gilberto; Silva, Denilson (Tinga, 62); Elano, Kaka; Rafael Sobis (Adraiano, h-t), Fred (Diego, 69). Substitutes not used: Julio, Cesar (gk), Dudu, Adriano Correia.

Portugal (4-5-1): Ricardo; Miguel, Carvalho (Meira, 90), Andrade, Caneira (Ferreira, h-t); Ronaldo (Simao, 63), Tiago (Moutinho, 68), Petit, Deco (Viana, 60), Quaresma; Postiga (Gomes, 74). Substitutes not used: Quim (gk), Meireles, DaCosta.

Referee: M Atkinson (Yorkshire).

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