Kaka upbeat after playing well in last WCup warmup

Published Jun. 8, 2010 1:20 p.m. ET

Kaka is becoming increasingly optimistic with how he will perform at the World Cup.

The Brazil playmaker said his confidence was boosted after scoring and playing well in the team's final warmup before the tournament on Monday, and is likely to keep improving until the opener against North Korea on June 15.

"I felt fine," Kaka said. "I played better in this match. I just need to loosen up a little more, but we have a week until the first match and I will be ready."

Kaka played the entire match in Brazil's 5-1 win over Tanzania in Dar es Salaam. He acknowledged he is still not at his best, coming off a left thigh injury, but performed much better than in the 45 minutes he played in Brazil's first warmup, a 3-0 win over Zimbabwe in South Africa.

"There are still some minor things to adjust," Kaka said. "But it's not about being concerned, it's more about being anxious."

Kaka chested in a cross by Maicon in the 76th minute on Monday, scoring his first goal with Brazil in almost a year. He hadn't scored in 12 matches, since a 4-3 win against Egypt in last year's Confederations Cup.

"This goal gives me confidence, it was very important," Kaka said.


Kaka said he felt no pain from the thigh injury that had been bothering him ahead of the World Cup and forced him to miss several matches with Real Madrid this year. A groin injury had also kept Kaka out of action for parts of the season.

Brazil coach Dunga praised Kaka's determination and said the playmaker has been working hard to be 100 percent fit for the World Cup.

"Kaka is getting better and better," Dunga said after the Tanzania match. "He is very anxious about playing. We actually have been trying to slow him down a bit."

Kaka enters the tournament as Brazil's biggest star as the team tries to win its sixth World Cup title. Kaka was a starter in the Brazil squad which lost to France in the quarterfinals of the 2006 tournament in Germany and a member of the World Cup team that clinched the title in 2002 in South Korea and Japan.

A former Brazil teammate, striker Ronaldo praised Kaka back in Brazil and was glad to see him finding the net again.

"Great to see my friend scoring a goal again," Ronaldo wrote on his Twitter page after the match against Tanzania.

Robinho and substitute midfielder Ramires scored a pair of goals each in Brazil's final warmup before the World Cup opener.

The late goal conceded by the Brazilians was the team's first in five matches, since losing 2-1 to Bolivia last October in a World Cup qualifier in the high altitude of La Paz. Led by Inter Milan defender Lucio, the defense had been perfect since then.

Brazil has not allowed many fans near its players since arriving in South Africa last month, but one of the ball boys from Monday's game was lucky to get close to the players.

Called Salomon, the boy politely asked to enter the team's changing room and was allowed in, posing for photos and receiving autographs from many of the players, the Brazilian football confederation said.

Brazil is in Group G at the World Cup, along with the North Koreans, Ivory Coast and Portugal.