Monday, July 1, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Ronaldo’s twin strikes shatter German dream

Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the first goal
Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the first goal against Germany during the World Cup final in Yokohama.

Brazilian fans dressed in the country's national colours
Brazilian fans dressed in the country's national colours of green and yellow, ride through the streets holding up five fingers to celebrate Brazil's five World Cup championship titles, in Porto Seguro, northeastern Brazil, on Sunday.

— Reuters photos

Yokohama (Japan), June 30
Brazil star Ronaldo laid to rest his 1998 nightmare by scoring both goals as the samba kings defeated Germany 2-0 to clinch a record fifth World Cup here today.

The injury-plagued two-time World Footballer of the Year netted in the 67th and 79th minutes to steer Brazil home and spark wild celebrations at the Yokohama International Stadium.

Ronaldo had only returned to international duty in March this year after a series of devastating injuries that had threatened to end his career at the age of just 25.

In 1998 he had also suffered a mysterious seizure before the World Cup final against France, but played anyway as Brazil plunged to a devastating 0-3 defeat.

But his two goals in the final here today completed a fairytale comeback for the Inter Milan star, who also finished the World Cup as topscorer with eight goals in seven matches to win the coveted Golden Boot.

He had helped create his first, robbing German midfielder Dietmar Hamann before releasing Barcelona ace Rivaldo.

With Germany’s defence backing off, Rivaldo unleashed a venomous low shot that German captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn failed to handle, leaving Ronaldo with the simple task of tapping in.

Twelve minutes later Ronaldo put the result beyond doubt with a superb second.

Kleberson broke clear down the right and crossed near the edge of the area. Rivaldo’s dummy over the ball sold Thomas Linke, and Ronaldo gathered and controlled before drilling a perfectly placed shot past Kahn.

Ronaldo was substituted in the final minute for Denilson, leaving the field to ringing applause from the 73,000 crowd.

His two-goal salvo shattered a spirited display by Germany, who had gone into the final as heavy underdogs in what was a first ever World Cup meeting with Brazil.

German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn looks down
German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn looks down as he leans against the goalpost after losing the World Cup final against Brazil in Yokohama on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Germany had gone agonisingly close to taking the lead early in the second half, and only some fine goalkeeping and defending denied Rudi Voller’s side.

Germany tested the Brazil defence when Jens Jeremies’ bullet header from an Oliver Neuville corner was blocked by Edmilson.

Moments later on 49 minutes they had their best chance of the game. A ferocious 30-yard free-kick from Neuville was brilliantly saved by Marcos at full-stretch, the dependable Brazil keeper pushing the ball onto a post to the despair of the Germans.

But that was as close as Germany got. Earlier Brazil, recovering from a slow start twice came close to scoring in the moments before the break.

Kleberson sent a superb curling shot from outside the area crashing against the cross bar with Kahn beaten, and Ronaldo’s shot on the turn from eight yards was also blocked superbly by Kahn.

A cagey opening saw Germany look the more threatening of the two sides, with the lively Bernd Schneider finding plenty of space down Brazil’s left-hand flank behind fullback Roberto Carlos.

The best German attack saw Schneider break free out wide before whipping in a low cross that Edmilson cut out for a corner.

Tackling and hustling the Brazilians tirelessly, Germany enjoyed plenty of possession but it was Brazil which had the best chances of the half, and Ronaldo had three opportunities to open his account.

He should have done better when released on the edge of the penalty area thanks to a sweet pass by Ronaldinho, back in the Brazil side after serving a one-match suspension. With Kahn advancing, Ronaldo’s finish with the outside of his left foot rolled a full metre wide.

Kahn was on hand to thwart Ronaldo again on 30 minutes, getting a hand to the Brazilian’s toe-poked effort after another clever pass from Ronaldinho caught out the German defence.

Kleberson, who had been the first Brazilian to test Kahn with a low shot early on, also had alarm bells ringing in the German ranks close to half-time when sent clear by Brazil captain Cafu.

The midfielder’s attempt skidded metres wide of the German goal though.

A physical first half saw both sides happy to trade tackles, and the game saw two bookings inside the opening nine minutes.

Brazil defender Roque Junior was cautioned for a blatant bodycheck on Oliver Neuville, and Miroslav Klose also saw his name go into referee Pierluigi Collina’s book for use of an arm in an aerial challenge with Edmilson. AFPBack

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