JOHANNESBURG, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Five-time World Cup winners Brazil secured a berth in the knockout stage of the 2010 World Cup by slashing Cote d'Ivoire 3-1 in the Soccer City stadium here on Sunday.
It was the second match of The Selecao in Group G after they defeated the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) 2-1 on June 15 when Cote d'Ivoire drew Portugal 0-0 in their first group match in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Both squads had prudent organization since the beginning, especially the Elephants which had sought counter-attack chances while taking tight defense line-up as many analysts forecast ahead of the duel.
Failing the expectation of coach Sven Goran Eriksson, Cote d'Ivoire did not show consistent performance as time went by. The porous defense made the Elephants pay a high cost.
Brazilian talented forward Luis Fabiano's two goals forced Cote d'Ivoire to lose their tempo in playing in the second half, but his second goal was a handball.
Eriksson told reporters after the match that "we are unlucky that the referee did not see the handball. It's difficult to deal with Fabiano and it's more difficult when he uses his hands."
"When you make mistakes, Brazil is quick to use them very well. They are very good at that," said Eriksson.
On the prospect of the Brazil squad, the Swede in his 60s said the Brazilians had everything to go forward and were of high quality. "It's very difficult to defend Brazil. To play with Brazil, you must be perfect."
Fabiano said at the press conference that "the ball hit my hand and then my shoulder. It's a doubtful situation, but it's a voluntary handball. It is the most fabulous goal in my career."
The deadlock was broken by Brazilian core Kaka in the 25th minute. The Real Madrid midfielder grasped a fault of Cote d'Ivoire defenders in passing and fed the ball into the path of Fabiano who fired it into the roof of the net with a powerful thrust, putting the South Americans in the leading position.
Kaka's display in assisting attacks proved his prominence in the pitch. His sluggish performance in the prior match against the DPRK has been heavily criticized by football fans.
Fabiano shone again five minutes after the interval. He flicked over one defender's challenge and slammed home into the corner of the net with his left foot.
The goal has aroused controversy among fans as it was a handball. But referee Stephane Lannoy did not sign a judgment.
Brazil's midfielder Elano who played for Turkey's Galatasaray extended their lead in the 62nd minute with a close-range shot.
The Elephants strived to score once in the 79th minute when substitute forward Gervinho's run enabled the ball fall to Barcelona's renowned midfielder Yaya Toure. Captain Didier Drogba headed the ball and made it bounce into the upper corner of the net.
The fierce clash of the two squads led to chaos when the match entered the last 10 minutes. Kaka received his second yellow card after he seemed to elbow Cote d'Ivoire substitute Kader Keita following a collision. The Real Madrid man was off the pitch.
Brazilan coach Dunga told reporters that "it is a physical game. Kaka was fouled and punished. It's unjustified spending off."
The two sides have never drawn swords at senior level. The only prior encounter between Brazil and Cote d'Ivoire took place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. They shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the 1977 edition in Tunisia.
With the victory, Brazil continued the glittering tradition of winning on South African soil: apart from their win against DPRK, five in the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009 and two friendlies against the home team in 1996 and 1997.
Prior to the match, the Selecao had never conceded a goal against CAF opposition in the history of the tournament, in addition to having won all the five previous meetings with African sides at the finals of World Cup.
The Netherlands became the first to sail into the next round of the World Cup on Saturday.
Brazil will face the challenge of Portugal on June 25 in Durban while Cote d'Ivoire will meet DPRK on the same day in Nelspruit.