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30 June 2002, 20:08 Seoul - Tokyo


Ronaldo’s two second-half goals gave Brazil their fifth FIFA World Cup™ championship and firmly put the ghosts of the France 98 final to rest. It was a hard-fought and equally played match befitting a clash of world football’s biggest titans, but Ronaldo had the touch of greatness that separated the two teams in Yokohama, Japan.

Ronaldo also lifts the Golden Shoe with eight goals in the finals, three more than his next closest competitors, Rivaldo and Miroslav Klose. Both countries offered opposing but no less effective styles as each hit the woodwork once and created a fair number of chances apiece. The first-ever confrontation between the two teams was an entertaining and dramatic end to the Asian FIFA World Cup.

Germany came out looking very good in the attack. Their first truly dangerous moment came when Bernd Schneider served a low cross from the right intended for Miroslav Klose that the confused-looking Brazilian defenders desperately cleared out for a corner kick (10’).

Germany continued to press the Brazilian defence, and when Brazil seemed to be playing some of their worst football of the tournament, a wonderful through ball by Ronaldinho sent Ronaldo loose on German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. However, the Inter Milan striker’s cheeky shot with the outside of his left foot slid well wide of the far post (19’).

Ronaldo missed another gem of a chance minutes later. Again it started with a pass from Ronaldinho, this time a short chip over the top. Ronaldo’s first touch pushed the ball too far forward, and Kahn was able to come off his line to swallow up the Brazilian’s weak toe poke (30’).

With the half winding down, Brazil had a flurry of chances. Kleberson had a good look at goal on the counter-attack, but his left-foot shot rolled slowly wide of the right post (42’). Then it was Kleberson again going close, this time with a shot from 25 metres that hit the crossbar (45’). Then in stoppage time, Roberto Carlos picked out Ronaldo at the penalty spot with a low, driven cross, but Kahn made a spectacular save to deny the “phenomenon” (46’+).

After going the entire first half without putting a shot on goal, Germany almost put one in the net two minutes into the second half. It came when a corner kick form the left found the head of Jens Jeremies, but Edmilson saved the day for Brazil, stopping the powerful header with a stab of his right foot (47’).

Minutes later, Oliver Neuville gave Brazil a fright with a powerful free kick from 30 metres that caromed off the right post after Marcos stretched to get his hand on it (49’).

With the famed Brazilian “R’s” looking frustrated and Kahn looking unbeatable, fortunes took a turn in favour of the South Americans. Ronaldo won the ball from Dietmar Hamann in the German half and laid it off for Rivaldo, who fired a shot from 25 metres right at Kahn. The previously infallible keeper could not hold onto the seemingly harmless shot, and the ball spilled out in front of the goal for Ronaldo, who pounced to slot it into the net (0:1, 68’).

Ronaldo needed no mistake from Kahn on the next chance. Kleberson started the sequence with a run down the right side. He sent a pass into the middle that seemed destined for Rivaldo, but he dummied brilliantly, drawing a defender and letting the ball roll to Ronaldo, who shot perfectly from the edge of the area into the lower-right corner of the net (0:2, 79’).

Oliver Bierhoff almost pulled one back for Germany with a powerful first-time shot from 15 metres, but Brazil goalkeeper Marcos stretched well for the one-handed save (83’).

And as time expired, Ronaldo could be seen shedding tears at the joy of his Cup glory.


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