Ronaldo shines in Brazil's passage to final

Brazil beat Turkey 1-0 to enter the World Cup football final.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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One golden move by Ronaldo took his tournament tally to six goals as four-time champion Brazil beat Turkey 1-0 to set up a World Cup final against Germany. Ronaldo pounced in the 49th minute after he and Rivaldo had been denied by some fine goalkeeping from Turkish goalkeeper Rustu Recber. Receiving the ball on the left, the Inter Milan striker powered his way into the penalty area and almost effortlessly poked the ball into the left-hand corner past Recber, who got one hand to it. Brazil had struggled in the South American qualifiers and was not considered one of the tournament favourites. But, like Germany, it has now qualified for a record seventh final, to be played on Sunday in Yokohama, Japan. In the first half, Rivaldo in particular had tormented the Turks and forced some fine saves from Recber. The Turks, though, had started brightly. In the 19th minute, Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos had to dive to his right to palm out a glancing header from Alpay Ozalan. But they gradually got pushed back and, suddenly, the Brazilians burst into life. Rivaldo found Ronaldo, who laid the ball off to the right to captain Cafu. Cafu, charging into the box, fired in a low shot that struck Recber on the underside of his body before bouncing tantalizingly over the crossbar. Seconds later, Roberto Carlos, who had struggled to find his range with two crosses, cut in from the left and fired a shot into the side netting. In the 23rd, Rivaldo skipped around his marker on the left of midfield before unleashing a powerful 20-metre shot, which Recber failed to hold. Ronaldo, rushing into the six-yard box, stabbed at the rebound but struck it straight at the 'keeper. In the 34th, Rivaldo again tried his luck from the edge of the area. Surrounded by four players, the Barcelona star, with virtually no backlift, fired in a shot which Recber dived to his left to save. Edilson then passed to Rivaldo who put a shot from 18 metres just wide of the right-hand post. Brazil made light of the absence of the creative Ronaldinho, who was serving a one-match suspension after being sent off in the quarterfinal win over England. Turkey's Hakan Sukur, yet to score in the World Cup, was clearly frustrated as he failed to get onto the end of Turkish breakaways. In stoppage time, Recber spilled a cross from Roberto Carlos and had to lunge to scoop the ball away from Edilson. Ronaldo's goal put him one ahead of Germany's Miroslav Klose and teammate Rivaldo in the race for the Golden Boot. It was the first time Rivaldo failed to score in a match at this World Cup. Brazil set out to kill the game off after taking the lead. The South Americans had a glorious chance in the 58th minute when Ronaldo turned provider and slipped the ball to Edilson, who skewed a weak shot wide of the left post. Turkey coach Senol Gunes, seeking to sharpen his attack, threw on striker Ilhan Mansiz, the golden goal hero against Senegal in the quarterfinal, in place of midfielder Emre Belozoglu. Ronaldo, who had been suffering from a leg injury and appeared to be limping slightly, was taken off after 68 minutes. But Brazil's tide of attacks continued relentlessly. In the 71st, Recber had to come charging out of his area to clear an attack and then Luizao volleyed a right-wing cross from Cafu over the bar. Sukur, who had been ineffective throughout the game, almost levelled the score in the 81st minute, hooking back a high cross from Hasan Sas, only to see his sharp effort tipped around the post by Marcos. Sas then received a yellow card in the 90th minute after hacking down Denilson, who was showing some trickery down the right to try and kill time. It was his second of the knockout phase. It was a rematch of the stormy Group C encounter which Brazil won 2-1 with a hotly disputed penalty. But there was little of the bad blood that had been expected in an open and entertaining game. Turkey now plays South Korea for third place. LineupsBrazil: 1-Marcos, 2-Cafu (captain), 3-Lucio, 4-Roque Junior, 5-Edmilson, 6-Roberto Carlos, 8-Gilberto Silva, 9-Ronaldo, 10-Rivaldo, 15-Kleberson, 20-Edilson Turkey: 1-Rustu Recber, 2-Bulent Korkmaz, 4-Fatih Akyel, 5-Alpay Ozalan, 8-Tugay Kerimoglu, 9-Hakan Sukur (captain), 10-Yildiray Basturk, 11-Hasan Sas, 18-Ergun Penbe, 21-Emre Belozoglu, 22-Umit Davala Referee: Kim Milton Nielsen, Denmark