In the build up to the World Cup, and in the first group match against Croatia, it seemed as if Ronaldo had been man-marked as all that was wrong with Brazil – arrogant, supremely talented, overbearing and not fit to win (or in Ronaldo’s case, not fit to play either).
Then came Japan and despite the win ‘hacks’ still doubted him.
Today, surely, the doubters will shut up and appreciate his brilliance.
In the 5th minute, Ronaldo scored his best goal of the tournament, showing speed and agility that had supposedly deserted him and went past Gerd Muller of Germany to set his own record of 15 goals in World Cup finals.
And throughout the match, Ronaldo was in the thick of things, running at defedners and popping up at the end of runs. It was hard to understand what the fuss had been all about, and if Adriano had chosen to pass instead of taking a swan dive Ronaldo could have been up 2 goals by the 17th minute and if that had happened you would have bet your house on him scoring a hat-trick. Too bad that didn’t happen.
The king is back to his best…
Sure, it would have been wonderful to see Brazil thrash Ghana by four or five goals. And as the commentator pointed out time and time again, Ghana just didn’t have enough accuracy in front of goal to trouble the Brazilians.
You know what I read that as?
Ghana did not – could not – push Brazil to the limit. Watching Brazil play possession football was an education in football as much as Argentina’s 6-0 mauling of Serbia and Montenegro, and Ze Roberto’s goal, possible after a wonderful run at the end of a series of pinpoint passes was the culmination of all those who doubted Brazil – they may be defensively suspect, but when needed, they will rip you apart.
Did they miss Michael Essien? Sorely. Watchers will point towards Adriano’s goal, or the harsh treatment meted out by the ref to Ghana players, but excuses don’t hold their ground over 90 minutes of football. With a team against Brazil you must, must put your chances away, and Ghana did not have that quality.
Personally, I wanted Ghana to win – it would have put all those Brazil-loving, watching-football-for-the-first-time, absolutlely ignorant ‘fans’ in their places and shut them up for the last 8 matches. Unfortunately, we’ll have to put up with them as long as Brazil are in this tournament. A price to pay for having Brazil in the World Cup?
This price, I can pay…