Sunday, 20 June 2010


Brazil's qualification for the knockout stages was cast under a dark cloud as Kaka was controversially sent off late on in their 3-1 victory over the Ivroy Coast.

Luis Fabiano opened the scoring in the first half with a fantastic finish from a tight angle, powerfully finding the top corner after latching onto Kaka's through ball.

The first moment of controversy came with Fabiano's second when he twice appeared to handle the ball in the build up to what was otherwise a sublime individual goal.

Brazil added a third when Kaka again supplied a perfect ball for Elano to tap home, Didier Drogba then pulled one back for the African side before the Brazilian playmaker was controversially sent off for a second bookable offence.

A good performance from the five times World Champions saw them cruise past Sven-Goran Eriksson's Ivory Coast side without ever having to find top gear. However two classy goals from Luis Fabiano and a tap in from Elano are simply the side story to the most controversial moment of the tournament so far.

After receiving a first yellow card for a petty argument with Barcelona star Yaya Toure over a disputed free-kick, just three minutes later Kaka was shown a second yellow and a red one to go with it. An off-the-ball incident picked up by none of the commentators on TV or radio had left substitute Kader Keita on the ground and sparked a furious reaction from his teammates.

With Kaka appearing to flee the scene of the crime the attentions turned to the TV replays as the officials attempted to restore order on the pitch. Replays showed Kaka had, perhaps intentionally, blocked off Keita's run but the minimal contact brought out an exceptional reaction from the winger.

Whilst Keita writhed in 'agony', clutching his face and rolling on the floor, the referee, despite not seeing the incident, decided Kaka was to blame and duly trotted across the pitch to give the Real Madrid star his marching orders.

The incident reeks of irony for Brazil and those who can remember as far back as the 2002 World Cup will remember why. Rivaldo's disgraceful theatrics when a ball was kicked at him with a little extra sauce in a match against Turkey saw his opponents undeservedly reduced to ten men as the shocked Hakan Unsal was sent from the pitch.

Rivaldo was clearly struck on the knee and yet threw himself to the floor clutching his face. The Brazilian legend was fined for his actions but refused to apologize, saying, "I'm calm about the punishment, and I am not sorry about anything. I was both the victim and the person who got fined."

Ironically for the Ivory Coast Keita's theatrics mean that their qualification rivals Portugal will face a notably weakened Brazil side at arguably the most crucial stage of the tournament.

Rivaldo's dive against Turkey. (2002 World Cup)

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