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Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012

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Lopsided affair: Brazil's Hulk is tackled by Iraq's Ahmed Ibrahim during their international friendly in Malmo, Sweden, on Thursday night. Brazil won 6-0. AP

Kaka returns as Brazil thrashes Zico's Iraq

AP

MALMO, Sweden — Kaka scored on his return to international soccer after an absence of more than two years, leading Brazil to a 6-0 win over Iraq in an international friendly Thursday in Sweden.

The Real Madrid midfielder, who last played an international when Brazil was beaten in the quarterfinals at the 2010 World Cup by the Netherlands, added the third goal in the 47th minute at Swebank Stadium.

Chelsea playmaker Oscar scored twice and there were also goals from Hulk, Neymar and Lucas.

"We did well. We scored six goals, that says it all," Brazil coach Mano Menezes said, adding that Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri "was one of the best players tonight, he made some fabulous saves."

Oscar scored in the 21st minute after a lovely through ball from Neymar and then made it 2-0 five minutes later.

Goals in the 59th from Hulk, 75th from Neymar and 79th from Lucas completed the emphatic victory.

Iraq rarely threatened, with only Younis Mahmood twice going close in the second half and Humadi Ahmad causing concern for goalkeeper Diego Alves in added time.

Zico, the Brazilian great who is now Iraq's coach, substituted five players in the second half in an attempt to lift his team. But his decision to remove the experienced Mahmoud surprised the largely Iraq-supporting crowd.

"If we had lost 6-0 to Iceland I would have been worried, but losing to Brazil was not a problem," Zico said.

The sound of drums — not samba, but Arabic — dominated the stadium in Sweden's third largest city. More than 14,000 tickets were sold for a friendly that was mostly attended by Iraqis living in the Scandinavian country.

Malmo is one of its most ethnically diverse cities, with 40 percent of residents being first- or second-generation immigrants.

It was the first meeting between five-time world champion Brazil and Iraq, the 2007 Asian Cup winner.

Brazil, which isn't playing qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup because it will host the tournament, plays Japan in Poland on Tuesday.

Ireland loses Keane

AP

DUBLIN — Ireland captain Robbie Keane has been ruled out of Friday's World Cup qualifier against Germany because of an Achilles tendon injury.

This is the latest blow to the Irish team that already has lost Sean St. Ledger, Richard Dunne, Glen Whelan, James McClean and Kevin Doyle over the last two weeks.

Keane, a forward for the Los Angeles Galaxy, missed training Thursday.



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