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Record-Breaking Ronaldo Sees Brazil Through
ESPN Soccernet, June 27th, 2006 3:22PM

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There's a saying in soccer that "you're only as good as your last game." For international soccer stars, that saying can either be a scourge or a blessing. Barely two weeks ago, Ronaldo was fat, lumbering and in danger of losing his place on Brazil's starting 11; today he's one of the greatest strikers in history and the highest all-time scorer at the World Cup Finals. Two goals against Japan on Friday and another today against Ghana in Brazil's 3-0 second round victory mean Ronaldo now stands alone at the top of the World Cup scoring pile, ahead of Gerd Mueller, Juste Fontaine and Pele. His goal today was an important one, too, allowing Brazil to take the lead after five minutes and giving them just enough of a cushion to repel wave after wave of forceful Ghana attacks. Brazil's opener was classic Ronaldo: the poaching striker latched onto a splendid through-ball from Kaka, did his step-over to beat the keeper and tap into an empty net. Ghana applied heavy pressure after that and nearly equalized, but for an amazing save from Dida. Adraino then tapped in a crushing second before the break, which should have been called offsidetwice. The second half saw more solid goalkeeping from Dida, but nothing too troubling. To be sure, 3-0 flatters the Brazilians, but Ghana definitely lacked sharpness in their finishing. Expect moves to big European clubs for Italian-based Sulley Muntari (Udinese) and Asamoah Gyan (Modena) next season.

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