Ronaldo gets winner and Golden Boot lead

Updated: 25 February 2007 08:27 IST

Not only did Ronaldo's goal put Brazil into the World Cup finals against Germany, it also gave the often-injured striker the lead in the Golden Boot race.

Ronaldo gets winner and Golden Boot lead

Saitama:

Not only did Ronaldo's goal put Brazil into the World Cup finals against Germany on Sunday in Yokohama, it also gave the often-injured striker the lead in the "Golden Boot" race. Ronaldo's sixth goal of the tournament came in the 49th minute of the 1-0 victory over Turkey in today's semifinal, pushing him ahead of teammate Rivaldo and Germany's Miroslav Klose, with five apiece. The Inter Milan star had two or three golden chances to score in the first half, with both Brazil and Turkey playing an open game that gave both sides plenty of chances to take the lead. Ronaldo's breakthrough came as Gilberto Silva broke down the left wing and threaded the ball to Ronaldo. The famous canary yellow No. 9 ran through a swarm of red shirts and then flicked a quick shot from 15 metres with his right toe that bounced and went in off the outstretched left hand of diving 'keeper Rustu Recber. "I kicked it with the tip of my foot like Romario," Ronaldo said, describing the goal. What a difference four years can make for the star whose seldom-used full name is Ronaldo Luiz Nazario da Lima. In the '98 World Cup championship game in Paris, Brazil slumped against France and lost 3-0, with much of the blame being placed on Ronaldo. He has carried the burden of loss since then, and also saw his career threatened by a 2 1/2-year battle with knee injuries and surgery. He played poorly in the '98 final, which was later attributed to the fact that he had suffered convulsions before the match and had gone to the hospital hours before game time. But he wanted to play and was allowed to. That began his slide from two-time FIFA player of the year to nearly a forgotten man on the national side and at Inter Milan. The chronic sore knees he had in the '98 World Cup finally turned into a string of knee ligament injuries that began a year later. If he stays healthy for the Sunday final, he can fulfill an often stated wish to clear his name. "Brazilians will never forget the '98 Cup," he has said, "until we win another one." (AP)

Topics : Football
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