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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Brazil move up into the quarter-finals

Brazil then France made up the final two teams for the last quarter-final place scheduled for Frankfurt this Saturday. Brazil rounded off a good contest with Ghana by hitting the West Africans 3-0 through the O's. Kaka played through Ronaldo as Ghana played a defensive wall so far up that Ronaldo simply had to run and make the ball with the equivalent of a playground between him and the goal. When he approached keeper Richard Kingston, the Real Madrid striker sold him a clean dummy and rounded the keeper to score which made Ronaldo the highest scorer in World Cup history with 15 goals. That was shortly after the game began, shortly before the half time break Adriano passed right to Kaka, who found Cafu. As Adriano indicated for the ball, Cafu crossed and Adriano managed to make contact with his thigh for the ball to go in. He looked skuspiciously offside at the time and the method of scoring has still to convince me Adriano is worthy of starting. Nonetheless, a goal is a goal. When it's given.

Ghana hadn't woken up until after the first goal and when they did, Brazil were then suddenly pinned back and under pressure, The amount of times Ghana tackled and dribbled towards goal they were favourites to make something happen but the end pass or touch always failed them. I felt there were a number of players who, when presented with a good chance in front of goal to pass to another, decided instead to shoot from difficult angles, to no avail. Yet Haminu Dramani blasted a shot that Dida had to tip over the bar, Matthew Amoah and Sulley Muntari made excellent one-twos at times that worked round the Brazilian defence, and John Mensah was the closest in the first half when a Stephen Appiah corner came over all and Mensah headed down powerfully for the ball to come off Dida's right foot. The AC Milan keeper knew nothing of it otherwise.

But being 2-0 down I've always said all players must keep their composure and focus on what is required. In this instance Ghana needed their eleven to keep the pressure up, something which they could have used later to grab a needed goal. But after being booked before in the 48th minute, Asamoah Gyan dived blatantly and received his second yellow. I wouldn't say Brazil were desperate for the advantage but they certainly wouldn't turn it down. As much as Ghana looked great on the attack, they opened up at the back. Kaka came off for Ricardinho on 83mins and a minute later it was his flick over the defence, who had pressed up too high again, that allowed Ze Roberto to run up to and nudge pass the helpless Kingston, pick up again and touch into the net.

I don't know whether Brazil had not exercised fourth gear because they felt Ghana wouldn't press them to or they had only enough steam to run back and forth, for Ghana were quite unlucky not to have made more of their chances. As for Ronaldo, the whispers that he was passed it, overweight, wouldn't shine because he had a lame domestic season.......their originators should stay undercover for good. Not so much that he scored, again, and holds the record for most goals, it was the way too. I think they boy is getting better as the games go on.



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