Brazil aim to improve

17 June 2006 01:27
World Cup holders Brazil will be keen to silence some of their critics as they attempt to book their place in the last 16 by beating Australia in Munich on Sunday. The Selecao started their campaign with a 1-0 victory against Croatia thanks to a stunning long-range strike from Kaka, but did not look like potential tournament winners. Adriano was almost anonymous, while Ronaldinho and Kaka were some way below their best and the defence did not look entirely comfortable against the physical approach of Dado Prso. The worst offender was Ronaldo. The Real Madrid striker never looked likely to score or even to get in a position to score and was understandably booed by his own team's supporters when he was replaced by Robinho. Despite his poor display and a subsequent medical scare, which saw him admitted to hospital for tests after suffering headaches and dizziness, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is confident the 29-year-old will find his form against the Socceroos. "Ronaldo is a big player and he can make a difference. He is very important for the Brazil national team," said Parreira. "We are certain that he will improve. We are giving Ronaldo the ultimate opportunity to improve." The decision to stick with Ronaldo means Brazil are set to field an unchanged team in Munich, but Australia coach Guus Hiddink is considering revamping his starting line-up. The Socceroos came from behind to win their Group F opener against Japan 3-1, thanks to three goals in the final seven minutes. Substitutes Tim Cahill and John Aloisi scored the goals, with the Everton midfielder netting twice, but they are among the players Hiddink is considering keeping in reserve. The pair, along with Craig Moore and Vince Grella, collected yellow cards against Japan and Hiddink is pondering resting them against Brazil in order to ensure they do not pick up second bookings to rule them out of Australia's potentially crucial final group game against Croatia. However, confidence is high in the Australian camp and Lucas Neill believes moving in to pole position for qualification for the last 16 by beating Brazil is not out of the question. "We're technically not as gifted as them but maybe we are a little bit more hungry," said the Blackburn Rovers defender. "They've been there and done that so many times and we've got more to prove than them so it's like David and Goliath I suppose."

Source: ESA