Brazil stutter to win
18 Jun 2006 - 19:12:30
Brazil moved into the last 16 of the World Cup finals with an unimpressive 2-0 victory against a hard-working Australia side in Munich.
The five-times world champions were frustrated by a disciplined first-half display from the Socceroos and as a result the opening 45 minutes were extremely dull.
Brazil improved after the break but they never reached the heights Argentina found in their 6-0 demolition of Serbia & Montenegro on Friday.
Ronaldo was marginally better than in his lazy display against Croatia although he was substituted with 18 minutes left and was also booked after kicking the ball into the net after being caught offside.
Brazil's first-half performance was epitomised by an incident in the 25th minute when Ronaldinho tripped over the ball and was left in a heap inside the penalty area. However, the Aussies were excellent with Guus Hiddink's tactics frustrating the Brazilians time and time again.
However, the Australia defence switched off at the start of the second period for one crucial moment. They allowed Ronaldo to hold up the ball before laying it off to Adriano who fired home a left-footed drive from the edge of the area.
The goal opened up the game with chances being created at both ends in sharp contrast to the sterility of the opening 45 minutes.
Australia's best chance to snatch an equaliser came in the 57th minute when Dida came for a high ball and missed it, but Harry Kewell, who had only just come on as a substitute for Tim Cahill, blazed over the bar with the goal gaping.
Just over ten minutes later Kewell's 30-yard drive almost caught Dida off his line, but his effort was just too high and in the 79th minute the impressive Marco Bresciano's mis-hit volley looked to be creeping in until Dida raced across his goal and made a sprawling save.
Mark Viduka then lobbed Dida only for the ball to land on the roof of the net while at the other end Kaka flicked a header on to the woodwork.
Brazil finally scored a second goal in the last minute. Substitute Fred, who had only just come on to replace Adriano, combined well with Robinho who fired against the post. The ball rebounded kindly to Fred who rolled the ball into an empty net with Australia keeper Mark Schwarzer stranded.
It was not a vintage display, but Brazil had done just enough to win while Australia were left needing to secure a draw against Croatia to join them in the last 16.