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Brazil Blues bounce straight back

Elano Brazil International 0809

Elano Brazil International 0809

Brazilian Blues Robinho and Elano were back on form for the comfortable 3-0 victory over South American World Cup qualifying strugglers Peru in Porto Alegre.

The favourites shrugged aside a lacklustre 1-1 draw with Ecuador at the weekend to sweep past their bottom-placed rivals and enhance their prospects of confirming their passage to South Africa next summer.

Striker Luis Fabiano grabbed two goals - the second courtesy of a defence-beating chip by Elano - but Robinho was not far behind as Brazil's outstanding player with a crowd-pleasing performance, and would have scored himself but for a fine save from Leao Butron.

Blues skipper Richard Dunne was at the heart of the Republic of Ireland's 1-1 draw against Group Eight leaders Italy in Bari. Robbie Keane snatched the Republic's late equaliser three minutes from time after the Italians had Giampaolo Pazzini sent off just four minutes into his debut.

The Irish stay second, two points adrift, but Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni said: "To stay unbeaten here in Italy shows everything is possible. Maybe we could have played better but Italy passed the ball very well and we were a little nervous."

Ryan McGivern came off the bench to help Northern Ireland to a crucial 1-0 win over Slovenia, a result that keeps them top of Group Three with a realistic chance of qualifying for the first time since 1986.

Ched Evans was a second-half substitute for luckless Wales against Germany, who were without injured captain Craig Bellamy, and although they raised their game Michael Ballack sparked a 2-0 win for the Group Four leaders.

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Mark Hughes 0809

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First Team News

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Micah Richards insists that the Blues can build on Sunday's win over Sunderland and make a late bid for European qualification via a high finish in the league.

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