Ronaldo sets the record straight at the 2002 World Cup Final.
During the 1998 World Cup Final, rumours abounded as to the reasons for the below par performance of Brazil’s Ronaldo.
The South American forward had been in electric form throughout the tournament, helping his side into the Final against hosts France. But on the game’s greatest stage ‘Ronnie’ looked a shadow of his former self and there is little doubt his poor performance played a huge part in Brazil slumping to a comprehensive 3-0 defeat.
On this day four years later – with the tournament taking place in Japan and Korea – Brazil and Ronaldo had the opportunity to set the record straight. Once again they had reached the World Cup Final but this time it was Germany that stood in their way from claiming a record fifth title.
Ronaldo was again in scintillating form – scoring six goals en route to the Final – and he took that momentum into the showpiece event, as a titanic battle between him and Germany ‘keeper and captain Oliver Kahn emerged.
Kahn kept the Germans in the game throughout the first half, producing a string of saves to keep the match level. But ironically it was a mistake by the previously imperious ‘keeper that led to Brazil’s opening goal.
Rivaldo hit a low drive from outside the box and although Kahn got his body behind the ball he was unable to hold onto it and could only look on as the ball bounced out to Ronaldo who slotted home the rebound in the 67th minute.
And 12 minutes later it was all over. A cross from Kleberson on the right was cleverly dummied by Rivaldo for Ronaldo, who took one touch and calmly placed his shot to the left of Kahn’s despairing dive.
Ronaldo finished as the tournament’s top scorer with eight goals and Brazil their fifth World Cup trophy.