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Brazil Qualify For World Cup 2002 Finals
11/14/2001. Brazil clinched the final South American zone qualifying berth for the 2002 World Cup on Wednesday night after a 3-0 victory over Venezuela at the Castelao stadium in Sao Luis.
Goals from Luizao in the 11th and 18th minutes and a 34th-minute Rivaldo strike secured full points for the Brazilians and allowed them to end their worst-ever qualifying campaign on a high note.
Edilson also delivered a superb performance for the home side, as his skillful prompting thrilled the 70,000-strong crowd to no end.
The Venezuelan resistance lasted just 11 minutes, but it could have been even less had Rivaldo finished off a first-minute chance and Luizao not missed on 10 minutes.
The Luizao-Rivaldo combination made a mess of Venezuela coach Richard Paezs ultra-defensive tactical formation, which contained four men at the back and five clogging up midfield.
Luizao kicked-off his 26th birthday celebrations with his first strike on 11 minutes, finishing past Venezuela keeper Rafael Dudamel with a tightly-angled shot from the left.
The lead allowed the Brazilians to finally relax and play the football that has brought them four World Cup titles.
Luizao doubled the home sides advantage in the 18th minute after another superb movement begun by Edilson in midfield, and Rivaldo put Brazil 3-0 up on 34 minutes after Edilson beat four players on the left before delivering a flawless cross.
Things got even worse for Venezuela just two minutes into the second half, as midfielder Rafael Vera saw the red card after hitting Juninho in the face.
The man-advantage gave Brazil even more room to attack, but Venezuela still created two isolated occasions in the 58th and 63rd minutes thanks to solos by Daniel Noriega and Ruberth Moran respectively.
Brazil then had a chance to add a fourth late in the match when substitute Marcelinho Paraiba rounded Dudamel but somehow missed an empty net.
Brazil: Marcos; Roque Junior, Lucio, Edmilson; Belletti, Emerson, Juninho (Ronaldinho 66), Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos; Luizao (Denilson 57), Edilson (Marcelinho Paraiba 74)
Venezuela: Rafael Dudamel; Hector Gonzalez, Rafael Mea Vitali, Jose Manuel Rey, Jorge Rojas; Luis Vera, Miguel Mea Vitali, Richard Daniel Paez (Elvis Martinez 31), Gabriel Urdaneta (Jose Luis Vallenilla 57); Daniel Noriega, Ruberth Moran (Leopoldo Jimenez 50)
Referee: Daniel Gimenez (Argentina)