FIFA WORLD CUP

Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, Germany

Referee: Lubos Michel | Attendance: 65000

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Brazil

  • Ronaldo 5'
  • Adriano 45' +1'
  • Jose da Silva Junior Ze Roberto 84'

3 - 0

FT

Game 55

Brazil 3-0 Ghana

Ronaldo became the highest scorer in World Cup finals history as Brazil dimmed the Black Stars of Ghana to take their customary place in the last eight.

The 29-year-old's early opener - his third in two games - allowed the five-times winners to repel the forceful threat of a Ghana side who took the game to their illustrious opponents for long periods but were let down by a combination of erratic finishing and bad luck.

Certainly, just as Australia had reason to complain about big decisions favouring big teams in their heartbreaking exit to Italy, Ghana could grumble as well, with Adriano possibly offside twice before diverting home Brazil's second in first-half stoppage time.

Unlike Australia though, Ghana could not say one decision had robbed them. If they had been good enough to win, they would have done, such was the amount of possession and number of chances they created.

But, with Michael Essien suspended, they lacked composure and, with Ronaldo now back to form, Brazil made them pay.

Ronaldo's two-goal salvo against Japan had brought him level on 14 with legendary Gerd Muller on the all-time tournament scoring charts and the chunky Real Madrid man took just five minutes to barge his way past the German.

Much is made of the effect Ronaldo's weight has had on his game. But his mind and feet remain quick if nothing else.

And after busting Ghana's offside trap to race into Ze Roberto's through ball, Ronaldo produced the equivalent of a Muhammad Ali shuffle to skip past Richard Kingson and tap into an empty net.

As the Africans struggled to cope in those difficult early minutes, it seemed they would be swamped, especially when Adriano raced clear in the same manner as Ronaldo had done on Brazil's next attack.

Again, Adriano attempted to keep round the Ghana keeper. But, when he fell over Kingson's prone body, referee Lubos Michel bravely booked the striker for diving.

It was the cue for Ghana to shake off any terror they may have had at facing the world champions and force their way into the game.

Led by outstanding skipper Stephen Appiah, a Marvin Hagler to Ronaldo's Ali, the Black Stars forced Brazil onto the back foot for the best part of half an hour, creating space often enough to give genuine hope to those who remain to challenge the South Americans for their crown.

Had Matthew Amoah not snatched at a couple of decent opportunities, Ghana might have been level before the three-minute spell just before half-time which effectively confirmed their exit.

When Sulley Muntari floated a corner to the edge of the six-yard box, John Mensah rose highest and connected with a firm downward header which seemed certain to bring the equaliser.

Yet Ghana could only choke on their celebrations as the ball bounced up and with amazing misfortune on the Africans' part hit Dida on the shin and was smashed away to safety.

Brazil immediately countered and grabbed the crucial second, although the goal only brought fury from the Ghanaians and coach Ratomir Dujkovic, who offered Michel a piece of his mind as the pair headed for the tunnel at half-time.

The source of Dujkovic's anger was obvious enough. As Brazil broke forward, Adriano was definitely offside once early in the move and appeared to be beyond the last man again when Cafu's cross flicked off Illiasu Shilla and onto the Inter Milan striker's thigh before nestling in the net.

With the cushion of a second, Brazil were able to play with greater freedom than at probably any stage in competition.

Unsurprisingly, Ronaldinho was at the heart of most Brazilian moves, setting up Roberto Carlos for a shot Kingson saved with his legs, then forcing the Ghana keeper to head clear as he tried to find Ze Roberto with a sublime chipped pass. Ronaldo, Cafu and Juan all might have added to Brazil's tally at the death.

Yet Ghana refused to buckle even if Asamoah Gyan let his team-mates down with a blatant dive inside the area nine minutes from time, which rightly resulted in a second yellow card.

That one regrettable incident should not be allowed to scar Ghana's magnificent contribution to the competition, or a compelling game.

Ze Roberto's late third was extremely harsh on the Africans, many of whom could be joining Essien in the Barclays Premiership next season.

Scoring Summary

  • Brazil
  • Ghana
 

Match Stats

  • Brazil
  • Ghana
13(10) Shots (on goal) 22(9)
16 Fouls 22
3 Corner kicks 4
5 Offsides 4
51% Time of Possession 49%
2 Yellow Cards 5
0 Red Cards 1
7 Saves 7

Teams

  • Brazil
  • Ghana
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Adriano (13')
Juan (44')
Red Cards
Asamoah Gyan (81')