Emerson nutmeg signals Brazil's dazzling intent
GENEVA, June 5: When a dour, defensive midfielder like Brazil's Emerson starts nutmegging opponents, it is clear something special is in the air.
Yesterday's 4-0 demolition of New Zealand in their final warm-up before the World Cup hinted the champions will be back to their spectacular best in Germany.
After going eight months since their last competitive international against Venezuela, the Brazilians appear to have regained the rhythm which helped destroy Argentina 4-1 in last year's Confederations Cup final.
Emerson even found time to perform Ronaldinho-style tricks as he nutmegged one New Zealander and dribbled past another before being upended by the sort of tackle he usually dishes out.
Brazil peppered New Zealand's goal with more than 20 shots and only an outstanding performance from young goalkeeper Glen Moss kept the score down.
''Adriano, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, they're all fantastic players, the best in the world,'' Kiwi coach Ricki Herbert told reporters.
''This is a very good Brazilian team, this is an exciting one, they have younger players who are in their prime and they will be the showcase of the World Cup.'' Ronaldo and Adriano, who have struggled with Real Madrid and Inter Milan this year, scored the first two goals.
The outstanding display came from Kaka, the third member of the so-called Magic Quartet, who ran the midfield, set up the first goal for Ronaldo and netted a superb goal of his own near the end.
Kaka picked up the ball on the halfway line, beat his marker with a tremendous burst of speed and then coolly slotted the ball past Moss for the third.
Earlier, he was close to another dazzling goal when he controlled a pass and instantly tried to chip Moss, only to see the ball go wide.
Fullbacks Cafu and Roberto Carlos, who will have a combined age of 69 when the World Cup starts, confounded the critics who have described them as too old.
Cafu, in particular, played with the energy of a teenager as he repeatedly made penetrating runs down the right.
''It was my order they went forward,'' said Parreira.
''I told Emerson to stay back and I thought Emerson and (defenders) Lucio and Juan dealt very well with the situation.'' Parreira was pleased the way the defence handled the aerial threat, something he expects to face from Australia in their second group game.
''They have a typical English style and our defence dealt well with it,'' said Parreira, whose side open their campaign against Croatia in Berlin on June 13.