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Brazil Wakes Up in Time Against Belgium

Round of 16: Rivaldo and Ronaldo score second-half goals in a 2-0 victory that leads to matchup with England.

June 18, 2002|From Associated Press

KOBE, Japan — Four-time champion Brazil withstood a stubborn Belgium team Monday for a 2-0 victory to reach the World Cup quarterfinals on Rivaldo's 67th-minute goal and Ronaldo's clincher in the 87th.

Brazil, the only Latin American team left in the World Cup, faces England on Friday in Shizuoka, Japan. Spain, England, Senegal, Germany and the United States had already reached the quarterfinals with the last two spots decided today.

Like Brazil, Rivaldo was shut down for much of the match. But in the 67th minute he scored a goal worthy of the World Cup stage.

Taking a long pass off the right wing from Ronaldinho, Rivaldo settled the ball with his chest, touched it with his left foot, spun to face the goal, let it bounce once, and ripped an 18-yard half-volley that deflected slightly off Belgian midfielder Timmy Simons and rocketed home past goalkeeper Geert De Vlieger.

"This was the hardest match of the Cup for Brazil," Rivaldo said. "Thank God we scored first, because if we had gotten behind it would have been difficult."

With Rivaldo having scored his fourth of the tournament, Ronaldo scored his fifth 20 minutes later, taking a pass from Kleberson from the wing on a counterattack and scoring from 10 yards.

With the victory, Brazilian fans unfurled a sign that read: "England Here We Come--God Help The Queen."

Brazil, the favorite to win its fifth title with Spain the No. 2 choice, seems to be peaking at the right time.

"The World Cup actually begins now," Ronaldo said. "From now on every match will be a final, like today's. Today it was wonderful, the support from the crowd, seeing that huge yellow-green mass in the stands."

Belgium, which had more than its share of chances, seemed to have gone ahead in the 36th when Marc Wilmots headed a cross from eight yards behind Brazil goalkeeper Marcos. But Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast disallowed the goal, ruling the Belgian had impeded Brazilian defender Roque Junior.

"We played a great match but made one mistake in defense that preceded the first goal," said midfielder Bart Goor.

Asked about the disallowed goal, he said: "It was a great goal. I'm not sure whether that was a foul "

Said Wilmots, who is retiring from the national team: "There was a referee, a decision. It was human."

Not content to stay back and defend, Belgium came out attacking.

After only 37 seconds, striker Mbo Mpenza looped an 18-yard shot that Marcos had to leap high to deflect over the bar.

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