Sport Soccer

Friday 27 April 2018

Gilberto relished Ireland test

Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva believes that Ireland provided the perfect test as Brazil continued their preparations for the World Cup with a 2-0 friendly win at the Emirates Stadium.

Ireland, who missed out on a place at South Africa following a controversial play-off defeat to France, held their own for the first half against the five-time world champions, and could have taken the lead when Kevin Doyle's header was palmed away by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

However, the South Americans went ahead just before the interval when Robinho's cutback across goal was put into his own net by midfielder Keith Andrews.

Brazil made more of their possession in the second half, with Manchester City striker Robinho - now on loan at Santos - netting a well-crafted goal to seal victory.

Dunga's star-studded squad kick off their 2010 campaign against North Korea in Johannesburg on June 15, and could meet England in the semi-finals should both sides progress that far.

Veteran midfielder Gilberto - playing back at the club he left for Panathinaikos in 2008 - believes yesterday's game was just the examination Brazil needed as they prepare for the challenges ahead in South Africa.

"It was very hard and Ireland gave us a lot of difficulties," said Gilberto, who was part of the Brazil side which won the World Cup in 2002.

"They marked us very tight and high up.

"However, in the second half we had some more space and could pass the ball with more fluency, which was how we scored the second goal."

Gilberto, 33, added: "It will be hard in South Africa, but we will do our best.

"The first thing is to qualify from the first round, and then we will fight for every game until the end."

Press Association

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