Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Match eleven and finally the mighty Brazilians enter the pitch. My eyes are glued to the screen, all the big stars are present., Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Carlos, to name a few, they are coming into action. The odds heavily favor the Brazilian team, five to two. Any other country gives a minimum return of eight to one, but no bookie dares to put out those stakes for the mighty Brazilians. They expect Coach Carlos Alberto to lead the them to victory. Nothing but the cup will be satisfying, on his shoulders rest maybe the heaviest burden a coach can carry. On the other hand, the five times world cup winners are in shape as ever. Personally I feel that Ronaldinho has grown to an equal of Pele, this tournament might prove that.
The opponent of the giants is the toughest of the other three teams in the group, Croatia. Nevertheless, with a sixty-six to one shot to the title they are not likely to hold off three points for the Brazilians. Coach Zlatko Kranjcar of Croatia safest bet is on the number two spot in the group. Who can stop the Brazilians?
The inhabitants of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, will be pleased to see their team advance to round two with the knowledge not to have to see the Brazilians again until the finals, if faith so decided. Despite what today might bring, chances for Croatia to topple their thirst place effort in 1998 are nothing but slim at all. The referee blows the whistle, Brazil is in action.
"Let us all watch Brazil, and see how they spread the ball around," says the commentator.
That I do, the first minutes Brazil is all over Croatia, the crowd roars. The keeper of Croatia just barely can tip a shot from Roberto Carlos over the cross bar.

Croatia regroups and grows into the game, carefully creating chances. The game slows, maybe the hype around the Brazilian team proves to have been too big. In the 38th minute Croatia gets a shot off.
"The old curler inside," calls the commentator. The head of the striker of Croatia misses the ball by inches.
However, the last five minutes of the first half, Brazil does what Brazil does best, play football. The Brazilians are playing tricks with the ball, fueled by the noise from the stands.
Karfu accepts a pass, sixteen meter from the goal of Croatia. He looks, lines up, and fires. The ball disappears in the top right of the goal. The stands explode.


"That goal electrified the stadium," he says. He is right, the ref blows his whistle for halftime, but nobody hears it.
Brazil comes late on the pitch, and that thought lingers as Croatia opens the first attack of the second half.
"One or two touches, zipping the ball around quickly," says the commentator. Ironically, he means Croatia.
Croatia fires a hard shot to the far right corner of the Brazilian goal. The keeper has to make a dive to deflect the ball. Croatia is not beaten.
55 minutes into the game, the commentator wonders where Ronaldo is.
"He has no effect on the game so far," says the commentator, "he has casted a shadow over himself tonight."
The same minute, the ball finds Ronaldo.
"Nobody really pressuring the ball," says the commentator.
Ronaldo gets time to set up, and he fires.
However, the keeper of Croatia spoils his day.

The game is in full drive now. Croatia answers the fantastic shots of the Brazilians with smart quick counters. Both teams create chances to make the second goal of the match.
The Brazilian coach replaces Ronaldo in the 68th minute, he walks of the pitch while the stands chants boo. Without the winner of the golden shoes of 2002, the game develops into a fast and open game.
Brazil attacks are getting cleverer. They show what they made off, they do not even need Ronaldo.
A streakier, not a striker, disturbs the game in the end phase, adding even more color to the story of this game.
The people in the stands are chanting. Brazilians, and Croatians, are enjoying the show.
The game ends in only one-nil; nevertheless, the might of the Brazilians is evident.
Watch out, here comes Brazil.