:: Sunday, June 30, 2002 ::

Brazil have won their record 5th World Cup finals beating a determined and solid German side, 2-1. And they did this with style and aplomb. What a way to silence all their critics. A month before the cup, everybody was saying shit about Brazil. After almost failing to qualify, they weren't given that much respect by bookmakers.

But even with all these criticisms, I stuck with this team to hopefully win it all. Why?

I wanted Brazil to show the world that they're still the best after losing tragically to France 3-0 in 1998.

I wanted Ronaldo to take centerstage once more. He was practically blamed for their loss in France. As the world's best player that time, he was supposed to carry Brazil on his shoulder. But that didn't happen. Instead, reports said that Ronaldo had convulsions before their final game and was only declared fit minutes away from the starting whistle. Yes, he did look sluggish and it was only a matter of time when France pounced on Brazil's weakened stand. Zenidine Zidane was excellent throughout and scored two goals. That was a tragic loss for Brazil. And I couldn't sleep soundly after!

I also wanted Rivaldo so shine intertionally. I mean he's great and all but he has only proven this on club level with Barcelona. He had produced some of the most exciting goals ever but he is often accused of not giving his all when he wears that Number 10 shirt for Brazil. That jersey is the biggest burden of all. Worn by the great Pele, Zico, Careca - it meant greatness for whoever who wears it. And Rivaldo has not been up to the job before this World Cup.

All the reasons why I wanted Brazil to win have come true. Ole! And there's so much more reasons that Brazil deserved their win - wily Kleberson who had at least 5 chances... steady Cafu now playing in his 3rd straight finals(a record!), magical Ronaldinho weaving through defenders and setting up goals, dependable Roberto Carlos anchoring the defense(who said Brazil isn't defending?!!) and Marcos, who's like the Great Wall of China in front of the goal.

I could rattle on and on but the case had already been settled. Brazil are champions again. Pentacampeao !!!!

Right now, I'm watching the replay and my hands are not cold anymore. When I watched it live earlier at 7:30(US Eastern Time), my heart almost stop a few times when Germany had some good runs. But when Ronaldo pounced on a rebound from Rivaldo's wicked shot, I shouted so loud that my roommate who was outside in the parking lot heard me shouting "GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!" even with our doors closed! Hahaha! The second goal was also a beauty. The way Rivaldo dummied the ball for Ronaldo was awesome. Picture perfect! Ronaldo wasn't about to miss that kind of chance and he neatly tucked away the shot from Oliver Khan's outstretched hands.

And I can now rest easy. This is a very good day indeed. I take my hats off to Brazil and Germany for a wonderful World Cup finals. Looking forward to 2006 which incidentally will be held in Germany. I'm sure the Germans will make another run for the cup.

:: rene 6/30/2002 12:35:00 PM [+] ::