Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds yesterday as protests marred a second successive day of the Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Demonstrators unhappy with the amount of money being spent on staging next year's World Cup tried to break through a police position outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium before the game between Mexico and Italy, which the Azzurri won 2-1.
For the second day running police took major action against a crowd estimated by local media at around 600 people.
The protests are ostensibly against the costs of the World Cup but people are also angry in Rio about a local issue surrounding the cost of public transport. There were demonstrations around the country last week against public transport costs.
Brazil had got the competition under way with a 3-0 win over Japan on Saturday but the game in Brasilia went ahead after protests outside the Mane Garrincha National Stadium.
More than 30 people were injured and 22 arrested as police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse around 500 demonstrators outside the ground. Inside, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff, and the Fifa head, Sepp Blatter, were both jeered before the match, while some fans in the 67,000 crowd had to be treated for the effects of tear gas.
Last night Andrea Pirlo (below) celebrated becoming only the fifth Italy player to win 100 caps by giving them the lead with a superb 30-yard free-kick in the 27th minute. However, Mexico equalised seven minutes later when Manchester United's Javier Hernandez converted a penalty after Andrea Barzagli tripped Giovani dos Santos.
Italy got on top in the second half and their dominance was rewarded with 12 minutes to go when Mario Balotelli collected a lofted pass from Emanuele Giaccherini, muscled in between two defenders and fired home.
On Saturday at least some unhappy home fans were placated by a comfortable Brazil win, Neymar's stunning early strike setting Luiz Felipe Scolari's side on their way, before second-half goals from Paulinho and substitute Jo wrapped up victory against a toothless Japan.
"What mattered most was the result and this continued the tactical evolution of the team," said Scolari, whose side beat France 3-0 in a friendly the previous weekend.
"I thought Neymar played very well, he ended a run without scoring, and I only took him off as he had a slight injury," he added. "I've no idea what happened outside the stadium, I have to focus on my team and I can't comment on that."
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