Ronaldo's party in Yokohama

Brazil’s Ronaldo (centre) celebrates with team-mates after their triumph in the 2002 World Cup.

The build-up to the 1998 FIFA World Cup final was filled with drama with Ronaldo at the centre of it. Should he have played or not was the big question but play he did enduring a quiet evening.

Champion players are known for their grit and perseverance and the knack of knowing how to bounce back from a bad day in the office. It was exactly a display of all the aforementioned attributes that made Ronaldo the flavour of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

It wasn’t a walk in the park for the largely talented Brazilians as they had fought their way into the tournament proper. But once there, the familiarity of the big stage put them at ease as they motored along.

For anyone who watched the 2002 edition of the tournament, a stand-out image would be that of English goalkeeper David Seaman in tears after his side’s exit to Brazil in the quarterfinals. While their inability to progress may have played a part in Seaman breaking down, a lot could be put down to the embarrassment of being beaten by the sensational Ronaldinho’s lob from the right flank. Whether or not the midfielder intended it can be disputed but nonetheless, it was a horrific moment for the English veteran.

Guus Hiddink would be revered as a demigod in South Korea after the World Cup as he guided them to an unprecedented fourth spot. The other fascinating story of the tournament was when minnows kicked-off the tournament with a 1-0 win over holders France.

So eventually, Brazil had their chance to exorcise the demons of 1998 but a firm barrier in the form of mercurial Germany lay ahead. Oliver Kahn was stupendous in Die Mannschaf’s lead up to the final battle but it was the Bayern Munich superstar who would make a terrible mistake, much like Ronaldo’s barber had.

Ronaldo had got his chance and grabbed it with both hands twice to slay the German challenge and make Selecao kings of the world for the fifth occasion.

Final result: Brazil: 2 bt Germany: 0.

 

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Ronaldo's party in Yokohama

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