Top 100 World Cup Moments (From the Aussie P.O.V.): 69-Ronny’s Audacious Chip (2002)

By the time the quarter final between Brazil and England had arrived 2002 England were fancied as a side that could (finally) go all the way in a tournament that had been gutted of the major favourites. They had negotiated their way through the ultimate group of death and then thrashed a quite pedestrian Danish side in the second round.

Brazil had ‘done enough’ in their group that was packed with poor countries and then squeezed past Belgium who had had a goal disallowed for a non-existent handball. The first of the quarterfinals for this tournament, Brazil and England kicked off in Shizuoka with England up to the challenge. Playing with confidence England stood up to the Brazilians who dominated possession and adapted to the humid conditions better than their European rivals.

Against the run of play England then scored when the normally unflappable Lucio didn’t clear a Heskey through ball and Owen was in like Flynn to collect the ball and nail the shot past the keeper. The goal sparked Ronaldinho in to life and the wonderkid from Porto Alegre was behind Brazil’s late equaliser in the first half. Collecting the ball in the middle of the pitch the number 10 rode the tackles of Scholes and Beckham (who seemed to pull out of the challenge due to his injured foot) before slotting the ball right to Rivaldo who finished coolly past Seaman’s right, a little unjust for England but 1-1 at half time with some great movement by Brazil for the goal.

Some five minutes in the second half Brazil won a free kick on the right some 42 yards from goal. Seeing Seaman organize his defence for the expected free kick in to the area and standing off his line Ronaldinho took advantage and floated the free kick high and over the head of Seaman. In to the net the ball went and Brazil were ahead. Shock, horror, bemusement and hilarity followed the goal (depending on your point of view on England) and Ronaldinho celebrated with his team mates while Seaman looked for a hole to dig and hide in..Seaman was finally more ashamed for something other than his middle age ponytail.

Just when it seemed like it was hours ago that England were in the lead they were offered a life line when Ronaldinho was sent off for a challenge on Danny Mills that was soft at best. With Brazil down to 10 men and their key creator off the pitch it was expected that England would have wave after wave of attacking prowess putting Brazil on the back foot but nothing like that happened. Brazil merely got organised, kept it tight and were probably bemused by the lack of attack from the English who couldn’t ever muster a chance.

Fulltime came and Brazil were through 2-1 with England out thanks to a quite bizarre and at the same time brilliant goal that came from fantastic opportunism by Ronaldinho. The British press tried to play down the goal as a cross that went wrong which prompted a debate but what should have been of more concern was the lack of kiler instinct when the red card came out. David Seaman would never live down his error and was the official scapegoat for England at this tournament like Beckham in 98 and Rooney in 06 but he would play a couple more times for England before retiring. Brazil of course went all the way in this tournament to make it five titles and a lot of it was thanks to the memorable cross/goal from a wonder.

About Dennis Gedling

RTR FM Presenter. Glory Guerrillas Producer and Co-Host. Contributer to Football Nation Radio and Football West. Worships at the feet of the mighty Cats, Socceroos, Matildas, West Perth, Glory and Glasgow's Green and White most of the time.

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