Brazil beat Belgium 2-0 to enter quarters

Brazil withstood a stubborn Belgium for a 2-0 victory to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Rivaldo's 67th-minute goal and Ronaldo's clincher in the 87th.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Four-time champion Brazil withstood a stubborn Belgium for a 2-0 victory to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Rivaldo's 67th-minute goal and Ronaldo's clincher in the 87th. Brazil, the only Latin American team left in the World Cup, faces England on Friday in Shizuoka, Japan. Spain, England, Senegal, Germany and the United States had already reached the quarter-finals, with the final two spots to be decided on Tuesday. Like Brazil, Rivaldo was shut down for much of the match. But in the 67th he scored a goal worthy of the World Cup stage. Taking a long pass off the right wing from Ronaldinho, Rivaldo took the ball on his chest, touched it with his left foot, spun to face the goal, let it bound once, and ripped an 18-metre half-volley that deflected slightly off Belgian midfielder Timmy Simons and rocketed home behind 'keeper Geert De Vlieger. With Rivaldo having scored his fourth of the World Cup finals, Ronaldo scored his fifth 20 minutes later, taking a pass off the wing on a counter-attack and scoring from 10 metres. Brazil fielded its regular 11. Belgium was missing starting defender Glen De Boeck, who was replaced by Timmy Simons. Belgium, which had more than its share of chances, seemed to have gone ahead in the 36th when Marc Wilmots headed a cross from 8 metres behind Brazil 'keeper Marcos. But Jamaican referee Peter Prendergast disallowed the goal, ruling the Belgian had impeded Brazilian defender Roque Junior. Not content to stick back and defend, Belgium came out attacking. After just 37 seconds, Belgian striker Mbo Mpenza looped an 18-metre shot that Marcos had to leap high to deflect over the bar. Brazil, with David Beckham leading a delegation of English players at the match, began to get more and more chances after about 15 minutes. In the 19th, Ronaldinho ran by several defenders and then dished the ball off to Ronaldo, who shot high and wide from 18 metres. In the 23rd, Ronaldo cut the ball back to Rivaldo, who kicked a volley from 6 metres high. In the 24th, after Belgian Yves Vanderhaeghe picked up a yellow card, Ronaldinho blistered a 25-metre free kick that a Belgium defender deflected wide. Ronaldo had two more chances in the 37th and 39th. On the first, he kicked the all into the face of sliding Belgium 'keeper De Vlieger from point-blank range. The second was a missed volley from close in. In the closing seconds, Ronaldo and company were also peppering the Belgian net. Brazil struggled to find its rhythm to open the second half, with Wilmots and Mbo Mpenza pressing in. In the 55th, Marcos raced out of his box to make a key save on Mpenza as Belgium kept up the pressure. Belgium kept Brazil off stride, allowing Rivaldo only two shots in the first hour. But that was about to change. In the 63rd, Mpenza cut the ball back to Wilmots, whose shot from 15 metres was swatted away by Marcos' left hand as he dived right to make the save, setting the stage for Rivaldo's winner. Belgian coach Robert Waseige sent in Wesley Sonck in the 80th hoping to spark a last-minute rally. But that was too little too late. Brazil: 1-Marcos, 2-Cafu, 3-Lucio, 4-Roque Junior, 5-Edmilson, 6-Roberto Carlos, 8-Gilberto Silva, 9-Ronaldo, 10-Rivaldo (Ricardinho 90), 11-Ronaldinho (15-Kleberson 81), 19-Juninho (17-Denilson 57) Belgium: 1-Geert De Vlieger, 5-Nico Van Kerckhoven, 6-Timmy Simons, 7-Marc Wilmots, 8-Bart Goor, 10-Johan Walem, 11-Gert Verheyen, 15-Jacky Peeters (9-Wesley Sonck 73), 16-Daniel Van Buyten, 18-Yves Vanderhaeghe, 22-Mbo Mpenza Referee: Peter Prendergast (Jamaica)