By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil threw away a 2-0 lead against Italy yesterday to draw 2-2 in the Geneva National Stadium, Switzerland. Goals from Fluminense striker Fred and Chelsea playmaker Oscar appeared to have put the Seleção in control at the interval, only for strikes from Daniele de Rossi and Mario Balotelli leave proceedings all square at the final whistle.
The draw means Luiz Felipe Scolari is still searching for his first victory in his second spell as Brazil head coach following a 2-1 defeat to England last month. Despite an improvement here the Italians looked more dangerous, especially in the second half as Júlio César was forced into two excellent stops to save Brazil.
The link-up play between strikers Neymar and Fred was encouraging however with the latter netting for the second successive international. Bonucci could only half clear Filipe Luis’ cross and Fred rifled home to open the scoring on 32 minutes.
As the Italians pressed a counter, another play initiated by the lively Neymar was finished by Oscar to ensure Scolari’s side went in with a two goal cushion at the break. Yet they endeavored to throw away that advantage less than fifteen minutes after the restart.
First, de Rossi converted a cross on 53 minutes before Balotelli, just three minutes later, robbed the ball from Oscar and stroked it past César. Brazil return to action on Monday against Russia, where Scolari will look to finally see a victory.
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