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Brazil, Italy play out thrilling draw

Italy striker Mario Balotelli left his Brazil counterpart Neymar in the shadows as he capped an inspiring performance with a majestic goal in a 2-2 international friendly draw on Thursday.

sports Updated: Mar 23, 2013 00:55 IST

Italy striker Mario Balotelli left his Brazil counterpart Neymar in the shadows as he capped an inspiring performance with a majestic goal in a 2-2 international friendly draw on Thursday.

Balotelli curled an unstoppable shot past Julio Cesar as Italy recovered from 2-0 down at halftime to deny Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari his first win since being reappointed for a second stint in November.

Neymar, 21, billed as Brazil's great hope for the future, cleverly set up their second goal for Oscar but was not in the same class as the mercurial Balotelli.

Brazil, showing signs of a more physical approach under their 2002 World Cup-winning coach Scolari, produced flashes of flair and lots of bruising tackles as they improved on their display in last month's 2-1 defeat by England at Wembley.

Brazil remain unbeaten against Italy since their infamous 3-2 loss at the 1982 World Cup but will be more worried about whether they can build a title-winning team in time for the 2014 tournament which they host.

Scolari saw improvements from the England performance after an end-to-end match between two teams committed to attack.

Portugal snatch late 3-3 draw

TEL AVIV: Portugal came back from two goals down to snatch a 3-3 draw in stoppage time against Israel in their World Cup qualifying group F match on Friday.

The visitors stunned Israel and silenced the 40,000 capacity crowd with a goal in the second minute, but the home side eventually settled and got back on equal terms in the 24th minute through Tomer Hemed.

They then forged a promising lead with goals by Eden Ben Bassat in the 40th minute and Rami Gershon in the 70th.

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