WORLD CUP : Unimpressive Brazil beat fighting Australia

Munich, June 18 :

Defending champions Brazil overcame a fighting Australia 2-0 at the Alliance Arena in Munich this evening.

Second half strikes from Adriano and substitute Fred set the win for the world champions, who were clearly unimpressive in the first half.

The match, watched by Australian leg spinner Shane Warne, started at a frantic pace with Brazil testing the Australian goal. Ronaldo gave an overhead back pass to Kaka who slammed it hard and wide from the top of the area away from the reach of Australian custodian Mark Schwarzer.

Adriano opened the scoring for the defending champs in the 49th minute on a cleaver pass inside the box from much maligned Ronaldo sending the Brazilian fans into raptures.

Fred, who came in for Adriano, added another for Brazil in the dying moments slotting an easy ball home after a Robinho shot rebounded off the goal post.

In the sixth minute, Socceroos replied in terrific fashion through Tim Cahill who laid the ball for Mark Viduka, who tested Brazilian custodian Dida from 30 yards.

Brazil had named an unchanged side, which was unimpressive in its 1-0 win against Croatia, while Guus Hiddink made some major changes bringing in Tim Cahill to the starting lineup. Cahill had scored in Australia’s 3-2 win over Japan.

In the 12th minute, Jason Culina had a shot at Brazilian goal but his attempt from 20 yards did not pack a punch. Earlier, Brazil won a free kick after Ronaldo was fouled on top of the box but Roberto Carlos swung the resulting free kick past the right side of the post.

Ronaldo, who has been the focus of endless debate at the World Cup contrary to expectations, featured in the starting line up but was always shackled by two Australian defenders.

Socceroos matched every move of the Brazilians with some good attacking moves and some solid defence. Brazil kept pressing forward building some excellent moves but could never threaten the Australian goal.

Ronaldo had the ball in the net at the stroke of half hour but got a yellow card for his troubles as the linesman had already called it off side.

Five minutes before the breather Australia were forced to make a change with Tony Popovic hobbling off and Marco Bresciano came in.

In the 44th minute Kaka made a brilliant solo run from the midfield but could not control the ball in the Australian box. The first half ended with Bresciano firing over the Brazilian goal post. It was a creditable 45-minute performance against defending champs from Socceroos who are ranked 42 in FIFA rankings.

Immediately on resumption Brazil attacked through Kaka but he could only kick straight to the keeper.

In the 55th minute Hiddink brought in Liverpool’s Harry Kewell in place of Everton’s Tim Cahill. In the 57th minute Australia almost sneaked in a goal after Dida coming off his line to gather a ball off Mark Viduka’s head made a mess of it. The ball fell at Kewell’s feet but he blazed it high and wide.

In the 61st minute Ze Roberto’s poor touch released Harry Kewell but the Brazilian raced back to tackle the Liverpool man. With Brazilians not making much headway Parriera substituted gloomy looking Ronaldo and brought in Rob-inho. Kaka almost came close to scoring in the 81st minute but headed into the cross bar on a corner kick from Ronaldinho. Socceroos came on many occasions but could not convert the chances they got.

Painuly is an Editorial Consultant with The Himalayan Times and is writing exclusively for THT from Germany.