Brazil regain their rhythm

Samba boys dazzle under new coach Menezes

Brazil regain their rhythm

Brazil’s Neymar (centre) celebrates with Paulo Henrique Ganso (left) and Alexandre Pato after scoring against the United States on Tuesday. AP

The bright and lively performance from the team coached for the first time by Mano Menezes was in stark contrast to the downbeat displays of the Dunga squad knocked out in the quarterfinals by the Netherlands in South Africa.

Goals from debutant winger Neymar and striker Alexandre Pato were enough to see off the hosts but the manner of the win, highlighted by delightful passing and that old Brazilian joy in evidence again, displayed a clear change of mood within the team.

"We enjoyed to play, I was happy, happy to be back. It's fun to play with great players with skill but we also know we have a responsibility to work hard," Pato, who missed out on the World Cup after an injury-plagued season, told Reuters.

Neymar, one of a trio of Santos players playing behind Pato in attack, along with Robinho and Paulo Henrique Ganso, was particularly impressive and relished being around his club mates.

"The team felt very confident, the coach told us to play how we play at club level and we played a happy football," Neymar said.

Menezes has had little time to work with his new team and his decision to inject a distinctly Santos-flavoured attack paid off in his first attempt to create a more fluid form of soccer.

"This was a step forward in terms of our ideas and vision and there will be more. The way we set up avoided the risk of a lack of chemistry," he said.

"I thought that the way that we performed reflected our style and our philosophy. It was not so much about the practice that we did but about the talent of the players. The tactics and the positional set-up certainly helped and at the moment that is the role of the coach... to help these players to show their talent. That is the philosophy we follow from now on."

Italy beaten

Ivory Coast beat former world champions Italy 1-0 at a rainy Upton Park in London on Tuesday in a lively friendly from which both teams could take plenty of satisfaction.
The Ivorians scored with a powerful header from Kolo Toure after 55 minutes but Italy, under new coach Cesare Prandelli for the first time, showed lots of promise as they embarked on a fresh start after their dismal World Cup display.

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