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Friday, June 23, 2006

Brazil beat Japan and win the Group F

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When the brazilian players want to win there's nothing in the world that can stop them. Brazil finally showed their great power in the final game of Group F with a 4-1 win over Japan on Thursday. A surprising Ronaldo emerged from his shell to score a brace that made him join the all-time World Cup top scorer on 14 goals with Germany’s Gerd Muller.

Keiji Tamada score the first for Japan with a violent shot but Ronaldo equalized in the last minute of the first half, with a good header.

In the last part, Gilberto finished a long run with a very good shot and beat the Japanese goalkeeper. Ronaldo scored the third with an excellent shot from outside the area. And Juninho netted the last goal with an impressive blast from 30 meters.

This victory saw Brazil advance with maximum points to a last 16 meeting with rank outsiders Ghana after the "verdeamarelha" extended their winning run to a record ten games, going back to the start of their successful 2002 campaign.

Real Madrid's Ronaldo was all smiles afterwards as he showed that he was by no means over the hill following two predatory finishes which saw off a Japan side who dared to take the lead. “The record wasn’t my main goal. I just wanted to be there for the squad,” he said. “I have been very patient. You have to keep working and not lose heart,” said the 29-year-old star, who added that the support of his family “has carried me through the tough times,” including another injury-ravaged season.

Brazilian Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said Brazil had shown just what they are capable of. “I am very happy with the win and the manner in which it was achieved. Today, we played our game, passing the ball around. We deserve to top the group. And Ronaldo Nazario is getting better and better,” Parreira claims. “He is a very special player.” With Brazilian legend Zico in their coaching hotseat the Japanese, needing a victory to have any hope of advancing, refused to buckle under the early pressure from the men in yellow but fell away badly in the second half.

In the other match, Croatia and Australia tied 2-2. The game was violently played, and the referee didn't have a good night. This result allows Australia to go to the roound of 16. Now they will face Italy.

Group F final positions:

Brazil (9)
Australia (4)
Croatia (2)
Japan (1)


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