Svengali and the England team were in the stands to study
the three Rs -- Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.
Within 40 seconds though, the first chance fell to
Belgium..... Marcos tipping Mbo Mpenza's shot away for a corner.
Belgium weren't giving the four times World Champions the
space they needed and started very positively.
With fifteen minutes gone, it looked like Brazil definitely
had a fight on their hands; even Roberto Carlos had to give more than 100% and Ronaldinho
was working in defence -- to head the ball back to his goalkeeper.
But take your eye off the Brazilian forwards for a second
and they can tear you apart, as Ronaldo proved by crossing into Rivaldo -- who might have
scored if he didn't try to perform the spectacular.
A minute later and Marc Wilmots tried to emulate
Edmílson's classic goal against Costa Rica.
Whatever the result in this game, the watching England team
would be pleased that both sides were pushing the other to their physical limits.
A 35th minute header, by Wilmots, was
dubiously disallowed and Brazil could breathe again.
Then two minutes later, Ronaldo dashed through Jacky
Peeters and Daniel Van Buyten, only to be thwarted by Geert De Vlieger's face.
The Belgian goalkeeper soon recovered, although the reserve
keeper continued with his warm-up routine.
Five minutes before the break, Ronaldinho sent Rivaldo down
the left and Ronaldo's volley, with the outside of his outstretched foot, wasn't far over.
Half-time: Brazil 0 -- Belgium 0
Seven minutes after the re-start, Marc Wilmots almost
caught Marcos unsighted; when the Belgian turned and shot low, through the Brazilian
Belgium continued to apply the pressure as Mpenza almost
slipped in at the far post; only brave goalkeeping, from Marcos, kept the ball out.
On the next attack, Mpenza looked back as he chased the
ball down the right, towards the corner-flag, and noticed his captain on the edge of the
area.... Marcos did well again; to keep out the rising shot from Marc Wilmots.
-- GOAL -- 1-0 Rivaldo finally opened the scoring for Brazil, in the 67th minute, when
he took Ronaldinho's right wing chip on his chest..... flicked the ball on the turn and
half-volleyed past Geert De Vlieger.
Only when Belgium went a goal down did Wesley Sonck come on
(for Jacky Peeters).... and he almost scored a few minutes later.
Brazil tried to slow the pace down in the last ten minutes
but Belgium continued to fight on bravely and gave Brazil the space to seal the game.
-- GOAL -- 2-0 Ronaldo's fifth goal of the tournament, three minutes from the end, ended
any hopes Belgium had of making it into extra-time.
If anything, Belgium and Turkey have proved that Brazil can be
flustered.... and with a little bit of luck, even beaten.
Player of the Match:
Marc Wilmots -- Unfortunate to have his goal disallowed and came close to scoring again.
Apart from that, he marshaled his team marvelously and encouraged them to take the game to
Brazil for well over an hour.
Yves Vanderhaeghe (24 mins)
Roberto Carlos (28 mins)