GENEVA - Daniele De Rossi sparked Italy's fightback and Mario Balotelli scored a superb second-half equaliser as the Azzurri battled to a 2-2 draw against an impressive Brazil in a friendly in Geneva yesterday.
Luiz Felipe Scolari's side, hosts of the 2014 World Cup and possible future opponents of Italy at the Confederations Cup, came into this match looking for a result following a 2-1 reverse to England last month.
However any doubts Scolari may have held about Brazil on their travels evaporated by the interval after Fred and then Chelsea attacking midfielder Oscar scored one apiece to give Brazil a 2-0 half-time lead.
Italy had created several chances in the opening half, including a curling effort from Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo, but ultimately struggled with Brazil's pacy rhythm.
Brazil looked set to dominate throughout but tired as the Azzurri turned the tables after the break with De Rossi reducing arrears in the 54th minute, and Balotelli pulling Italy level only three minutes later with a fine, curling effort which beat Queens Park Rangers 'keeper Julio Cesar.
While Brazil do not participate in qualifying for the World Cup, Italy sit top of Group B on 10 points, four ahead of second-placed Bulgaria with the Czech Republic in third a point further adrift.
The Azzurri face Group B opponents Malta on Tuesday while Brazil face Russia in a friendly on Monday.