Menu
Home

More Sports

Brazil wins WCup warmup but has injury scare

LONDON (AP) — Brazil easily beat Zimbabwe 3-0 in a pre-World Cup exhibition Wednesday, despite an injury scare that forced first-choice goalkeeper Julio Cesar out of the game.

While Paraguay won 2-0 against fellow World Cup qualifier Greece, Brazil eased past its lowly opponent in Harare through goals by Michel Bastos, Robinho and Elano.

Cesar walked out of the match in the 26th minute because of a back injury, though team doctors said the Inter Milan player was not seriously injured and was replaced as a precaution.

Honduras warmed up for its opener against Chile with a 0-0 draw against Azerbaijan in Austria. Serbia, the other World Cup qualifier in action Wednesday, also was preparing at altitude in Austria and drew 0-0 against Poland.

With 13 days until its World Cup opener against North Korea, Brazil's near full-strength team started slowly under the gaze of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

"It was a good match, but we still have to improve a little," Elano said.

Brazil had to wait until the 41st minute for Bastos to open the scoring with a powerful free kick.

"It was a sensational feeling," Bastos said. "I was able to take advantage of the chance I had. The World Cup starts today for me."

Robinho added a second goal from inside the penalty area three minutes later and midfielder Elano made it 3-0 from close range in the 56th.

It was Brazil's first warmup since arriving in Africa last week, and first full international since a friendly win over Ireland in March.

Heurelho Gomes replaced Cesar in goal and could fill in for the Champions League winner in Brazil's final warmup against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.

Brazil, the only team to appear at all 19 editions of the tournament, opens its World Cup campaign on June 15 at Johannesburg's Ellis Park stadium — the venue where it won last year's Confederations Cup warmup event with a 3-2 victory over the United States.

It also plays Portugal and Ivory Coast in the first round.

Enrique Vera and Lucas Barrios scored first-half goals in Winterthur, Switzerland, to give Paraguay its victory over Greece in the last tuneup for both teams.

Vera easily slotted home a rebound in the ninth minute after a shot from Roque Santa Cruz hit the bar.

Santa Cruz again threatened in the 25th but his shot was stopped by Greek goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas. Barrios drove in the loose ball to make it 2-0.

Greece faces South Korea in its opening match. Nigeria and Argentina are also in Group B.

Paraguay takes on Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia in Group F.

Honduras, which is also set to play Spain and Switzerland in Group H, dominated non-qualifier Azerbaijan but created few chances on a wet field.

Play in the Serbia-Poland match also was hampered by water on the field, frequently holding up the ball and preventing fluent passing.

Striker Marko Pantelic missed Serbia's best chance after 74 minutes when he shot the ball over a deserted goal off a right-wing cross by Dragan Mrdja.

Serbia plays Germany, Australia and Ghana in Group D at the World Cup.

Poland failed to qualify for the June 11-July 11 tournament in South Africa.

In other friendly matches, Ukraine beat Norway, Macedonia beat Romania, Sweden beat Belarus and Albania beat Andorra. The score in each of those matches was 1-0.