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Brazil, Ronaldo boot Germans in Cup final

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Brazil 2, Germany 0

Two second-half goals by superstar forward Ronaldo powered Brazil to an unprecedented fifth World Cup title after a deserved 2-0 victory over Germany in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday.

Ronaldo, who, with eight goals, finished as the tournament’s Golden Boot winner, joined Irish forward Robbie Keane as the only man to score against Germany’s phenomenal Oliver Kahn when he buried a scorching Rivaldo rebound in the 67th minute.

A day before the final, the 33-year-old Kahn had been voted the world’s best goalkeeper by FIFA.

Ronaldo’s killer second strike came 11 minutes from time when he fired in a grass-cutter from inside the box after an excellent dummy by Rivaldo.

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Ronaldo’s individual brilliance was just what the Brazilians needed to break open a gripping final watched by 73,000 fans at the Yokohama International Stadium and an estimated 1.5 billion global TV audience.

The South Americans had carved out the better chances on the night despite the territorial dominance of the Germans, who had tied 1-1 with Ireland in the first round.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to be a Brazilian tonight,” said the 25-year-old former World Player of the Year, who spent a good deal of time after his collapse in the France ’98 final sidelined by injury.

“The whole squad has worked very hard. I worked for two and a half years to be here tonight. We are all so happy to have landed this fifth championship.”

Ronaldo only returned to international duty last March, and although he started the final with six goals, he was a periphery figure for most of the match as both Kahn and the German defense kept him and his compatriots at bay.

With German midfielder Bernd Schneider a livewire presence on the right wing, Brazil’s best chances in the opening half came just before the break when first Kleberson smashed a dipping shot against the crossbar and then moments later Ronaldo swiveled and shot, only to be denied by Kahn’s legs.

Having survived the barrage, German came out for the second half threatening to take the lead.

Jens Jeremies had a header from a corner smothered, while Oliver Neuville’s explosive free kick from 30 yards out was sent crashing against the upright by Brazil’s superb 6-foot-4 goalie, Marcos.

It was still a tight affair with 23 minutes remaining when Brazil, who to their credit kept pushing forward, made the most of a defensive lapse by Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann.

The German defense had snuffed out a move by Ronaldo and regained possession of the ball, which Carsten Ramelow passed to Hamann outside the box.

The experienced Hamann, however, opted to hold onto the ball and was caught in possession by Ronaldo. The striker fed Rivaldo, whose venomous shot Kahn failed to hold, spilling the ball to the charging Ronaldo, who made no mistake from close range.

Rivaldo was involved in Ronaldo’s second goal as well. He let Kleberson’s square pass run through his legs in the 79th minute, freeing the young forward up for a dangerously accurate shot that beat Kahn at the far post.

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Brazil’s controversial coach who had omitted the popular Romario from his squad, was low key as he basked in the victory.

“It is a great feeling that Brazil are world champions,” he said. “I share in the happiness and the joy that the Brazilian people are feeling right now. Germany played very physical football and that’s what we expected. But we deserved to win.”

German boss Rudi Voeller hailed the Brazilians as worthy champions, saying the individual class of the South Americans had been too much for his side in the end.

“We played very well in the first 35 minutes and we felt we were controlling the game,” Voeller said. “But as the game went on, we saw their great individual talent, they are so strong in one-on-one situations and in quick passing and that began to give us more and more problems.”

Turkish delight

Turkey, beaten 1-0 by a Ronaldo effort in last Wednesday’s semifinal against Brazil, held off South Korea 3-2 in D’gu to win the third-place match last Saturday. Skipper Hakan Sukur (1st) and Ilhan Mansiz (13th, 32nd) tallied for the Turks. Lee Eul-Young (9th) and Song Chong-Gug (90th) were the Korean scorers.

All-Stars

There were no Irish players in the World Cup All-Star team named last Friday. The United States, however, was represented by skipper Claudio Reyna. Brazil contributed four players and Germany three.

The complete team, selected by a panel of former national coaches are:

Goalkeepers — Oliver Kahn (Germany), Rustu Recber (Turkey),

Defenders — Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Sol Campbell (England), Hong Myung-Bo (South Korea), Alpay Ozalan (Turkey), and Fernando Hierro (Spain).

Midfielders — Rivaldo (Brazil), Ronaldinho (Brazil), Claudio Reyna (United States), Michael Ballack (Germany), Yoo Sang-Chul (South Korea).

Forwards — Ronaldo (Brazil), El-Hadji Diouf (Senegal), Hasan Sas (Turkey), and Miroslav Klose (Germany).

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