46th Minute, Ronaldo, Brazil v Netherlands, 1998 World Cup Semi Final
Brazil had become champions of the world for the fourth time in 1994 but the style in which they did it was often criticised. In the knockout stages they had played with two defensive midfielders and it took away the excitement many associated with watching Brazil. In 1998 they may not have been the complete exciting package that say the 1982 side was but Brazil did have Rivaldo and Ronaldo.
Together Ronaldo and Rivaldo tore apart defences that summer in France. Chile, Denmark, Scotland, Morocco were all blown away by the skill and movement of the two R’s and the semi-final against Netherlands proved no different where the two combined again.
Just as the second half begins Ronaldo beautifully controls Rivaldo’s pass and dispatches his shot under van der Saar to give Brazil the lead…
What Happened Next?
Netherlands equalised in the 87th minute through Patrick Kluivert but Brazil would get the better of them on a penalty shoot-out and go on to face hosts France in the final.
Ronaldo who had been the star of the tournament but shockingly just an hour before kick-off it was announced that he was out of the Brazil side for the final. It caused a worldwide media storm as journalists desperately scrambled around to find out why. Minutes later he was in the line-up again but although he was there physically, it was clear as soon as the game kicked off he wasn’t there mentally. The whole Brazilian side suffered with him whilst France were inspired by their own genius Zinedine Zidane won 3-0 which remains Brazil’s heaviest defeat in World Cup history.
Ronaldo and Brazil bounced back four years later to win the Golden Boot and World Cup respectively.
The theories regarding Ronaldo’s problem before the final…written before the final four years later
All 15 goals Ronaldo has scored in World Cups…a record…