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Brazil vs. Belgium

June 16, 2002|Mike Penner

*--* Monday, 4:30 a.m. PDT, at Kobe, Japan TV: ESPN, Ch. 34. Delayed: Ch. 46, 2:30 p.m. Monday How they got here: Brazil finished first in Group B at 3-0-0, outscoring Turkey, Costa Rica and China by an aggregate 11-3. Belgium took second in Group H with a 1-0-2 record Brazil update: France is gone, Argentina is gone, Italy nearly went with them, but Brazil continues to thrive. The 3-0 record is somewhat flattering; Brazil pounded China and Costa Rica by a combined 9-2, but struggled to turn back Turkey. The most notable development in group play was Ronaldo's return to fitness and goal-scoring form--he scored four times in the three games. But Brazil has some nagging defensive and goalkeeping problems, which Costa Rica exploited for two goals and numerous quality opportunities. That shouldn't unhinge the Brazilians here, but England waiting in the quarterfinals is another story altogether Belgium update: The Belgians made history Friday by finally winning a World Cup match, over Russia, ending an eight-game winless streak that included five consecutive ties. Oh, and they also qualified for the second round. Belgium plays a methodical style that could trouble Brazil--one way to frustrate the Brazilians is to bore them--and has just enough flash in striker Wesley Sonck and captain Marc Wilmots to sneak a goal or two. But will that be enough? "We have to do something special," Coach Robert Waseige said. "If we are at our best and we work very hard, we can achieve something." Outlook: Ronaldo reports that he and his teammates watched Belgium's 3-2 victory over Russia and says, "We have nothing to fear from this team and there's no cause for alarm." What else needs to be said, except: He's probably right

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