LEIPZIG, Germany, June 16 (Reuters) - World champions Brazil scored an emphatic 3-0 win over European champions Greece on Thursday, with a stunning goal by Adriano the highlight of their opening Group B Confederations Cup match.
The striker's inswinging left-foot shot from 30 metres
embarrassed Greek goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis as it flew
past him at his near post after 41 minutes.
But while Adriano grabbed some of the spotlight, Robinho
gave further evidence he is on his way to becoming Brazil's next
great player with a superb solo performance, capped by their
second goal and the Man of the Match award.
The 21-year-old Santos striker, coveted by many of Europe's
richest clubs, scored in the 46th minute after Gilberto surged
through the Greek defence unchallenged before crossing for him
to steer the ball home unmarked at the far post.
Substitute Juninho Pernambucano added Brazil's third in the
81st minute, just four minutes after replacing Kaka, firing home
a superbly executed free-kick from 20 metres out.
Along with the award, Robinho's third goal in his eighth
full international won the praise of coach Carlos Alberto
'Robinho is a reality' he said. 'He is a treasure for us. He
has such skill, such personality, so much talent and he is so
'This was a big occasion for him playing a tough match
against the European champions and he did very very well.'
Brazil were the better team in a match that was evenly
balanced for most of the first half, before opening up in the
second as Greece were forced out of their shell.
'I was very pleased with the way we played, we were a real
team today. We created plenty of chances and played very well
defensively,' Parreira said.
'It was a very good start to the competition for us. This is
the Confederations Cup, not the World Cup, but it had the
feeling of the World Cup about it.'
Despite their typically robust defending, often with seven
or eight men behind the ball, Brazil's superior technique told
as the artistry of Ronaldinho, Robinho, Kaka and Adriano found
increasingly large gaps in the Greek defence.
Greece could have gone ahead as early as the second minute,
though, when the unmarked Sotirios Kyrgiakos wasted a clear
It was their last clearcut chance until first-half stoppage
time when Angelos Haristeas swept the ball into the side netting
with only Brazilian keeper Dida to beat.
Brazil missed a good chance after 17 minutes when Ronaldinho
jinked his way past a defender to set up Robinho for a rasping
shot which Nikopolidis saved superbly.
Kyrgiakos was a tower for Greece at the back and followed
Adriano like a shadow all over the pitch, but was powerless to
stop him scoring four minutes before the break.
Kyrgiakos had only just returned to the field after being
treated for a leg injury and for once allowed some daylight
between himself and Adriano, who took full advantage.
Robinho could also have doubled Brazil's lead with the last
kick of the first half when he volleyed high and wide unmarked
at the far post - although he made up for that seconds after
the break with Brazil's second.
With the likes of Cafu, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo all
missing from this squad, Parreira is testing younger players
like right-back Cicinho and Robinho, who both acquitted
Greece's German coach Otto Rehhagel, starting the match with
eight of the players who won Euro 2004 a year ago, saw his team
play with their usual gritty defensive strength.
But the Brazilian rearguard, helped by an outstanding Roque
Junior, performed even better and in the end, there was only one
team in it.
Rehhagel admitted: 'It was a special feeling for us today,
there were so many Greek fans here.
'It was just a shame it was not a more open match and I wish
we could have put up more of a fight against them. I think we
played better in the second half but it was against Brazil and
it is always difficult against Brazil.
'You can't do much against a bomb like that from Adriano.
You can't shut Brazil down for 90 minutes.'
Mexico beat Japan 2-1 in the other Group B match played
earlier on Thursday.