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Updated: Sunday June 30, 2002 12:16 PM ET
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YOKOHAMA, Japan (Ticker) -- Ronaldo was there to pick up the pieces when "The New Berlin Wall" finally fell.

Ronaldo scored twice in the second half Sunday as Brazil won the 2002 World Cup with a 2-0 triumph over Germany.

Brazil, the only nation to qualify for all 17 tournaments, improved upon its own record haul by winning a fifth World Cup title, adding to its successes in 1958, 1962, 1970 and 1994.

"I feel happiness and joy, probably the same joy that the people of Brazil are probably feeling right now," Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari said. "It is a historical moment as Brazil is back as the world champion and is simply the result of very hard work."

Dubbed "The New Berlin Wall" in Germany for yielding just one goal in the six matches leading up to the final, goalkeeper Oliver Kahn made an atypical mistake in the 67th minute.

Kahn fumbled a shot from Rivaldo, who in characteristic fashion, pounced on the rebound in front of the net, slipping it past the diving keeper.

Ronaldo secured his grip on "The Golden Boot" as the tournament's top-scorer with his eighth goal 11 minutes from the end.

Rivaldo played a beautiful dummy on Kleberson's pass from the right side, allowing the ball to roll across the top of the box to Ronaldo, who fired it past the outstretched Kahn.

Assuring his place in Brazilian soccer history, Ronaldo matched the mark of the legendary Pele by collecting his 12th career World Cup goal. The Inter Milan striker tallied four at France in 1998.

A two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldo also earned some redemption.

At the Stade de France, the superstar failed to make a mark on the 1998 World Cup final after being taken to the hospital earlier that day due to an undisclosed ailment. Rumors have suggested that Ronaldo suffered anything from a seizure to a panic attack.

Ronaldo also had been sidelined for much of the past three seasons while recovering from multiple knee surgeries.

"I fought for two years to overcome my injury," he said. "I am very glad to have scored both the goals and help bring the fifth World Cup back to Brazil."

Kahn, who received the 2002 Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper at the World Cup, had been in superb form throughout the tournament.

The Bayern Munich keeper certainly lived up to the standard set by the late Soviet goalkeeper for whom the prize was named, registering five clean sheets and carrying Germany into the final.

Germany, which has won the event three times, suffered its fourth defeat in a World Cup final.

The Germans were unable to match Brazil's mark by lifting the World Cup for the fourth time. Playing as West Germany, the European power won soccer's showcase event in 1954, 1974 and 1990. In fact, since 1954, the Germans have reached at least the quarterfinal stage of every World Cup.

"We've got to be happy with what we've achieved here in this World Cup," said German coach Rudi Voeller, who was a striker on his country's 1990 championship team. "We played well at times and we owe a lot to Oliver Kahn, who did some fantastic things."

Playing in a third straight World Cup final for the first time in team history, Brazil captured the trophy for the second time during the run. In 1994, the Brazilians edged the Italians on penalty kicks and, four years ago, the South Americans were humbled by host France.

"Finishing second in Brazil is like finishing last and I tried to pass that feeling on to the players," Scolari said. "I told the players that they had to be consistent, play well, have fun and win. In order to do that, we always knew that finishing second would be like finishing last. Finishing first is a marvelous feeling."

Cafu, Brazil's captain, is the lone player to compete in those three matches and became the first in World Cup history to appear in three finals.

But Voeller's men had three excellent opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the second half. Four minutes after the break, Oliver Neuville unleashed a swerving 35-yard free kick, but goalkeeper Marcos just got his fingers on to the ball, tipping it on to the right goalpost.

"We had many chances but lost from a simple mistake," Germany defender Christoph Metzelder said. "It was too bad the ball hit the goalpost. If it had been a goal, we could have won the match."

The match still was scoreless when Neuville just failed to get on the end of Bernd Schneider's penetrating 62nd-minute pass into the area.

Down 2-0 with seven minutes left, Germany tried to engineer a comeback as it did in the 1986 World Cup final in Mexico City, where it rallied from a two-goal deficit before falling to Argentina. But Marcos was up to the task again, turning aside a shot from substitute Oliver Bierhoff to effectively end the German threat.

Marcos registered four saves en route to his fourth clean sheet of the World Cup. In fact, Brazil's traditionally suspect defense concluded the tournament having not allowed a goal in its final 247 minutes.

Amazingly, with the exception of 1978, either Brazil or Germany has played in every World Cup final since World War II. However, the countries squared off in the championship match for the first time.

Despite the absence of playmaker Michael Ballack due to suspension, Germany imposed its will on the match in the opening half hour, bypassing the midfield with long balls and putting pressure on Brazil's defense. However, none of the Germans' efforts resulted in shots.

"We felt that we had the game under control in the first 30 minutes or so," Voeller said. "But as the game went on, we saw more and more of Brazil achieving what they had done in so many other games so far in this World Cup, showing their individual class.

"They're so strong in one-on-one situations, ... quick interpassing between each other, and as we went on, we found that really was creating more difficulties."

Despite losing the possession battle early, Brazil had the best scoring chances in the first 30 minutes, courtesy of Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

Absent from the Selecao's semifinal success after picking up a red card against England, Ronaldinho made his mark with beautiful passes to Ronaldo in the 19th and 30th minutes. However, both attempted tap-ins were smothered by Kahn.

Christened "The Three R's," Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho were the offensive stars of the competition's highest-scoring team. The trio combined to record 15 of Brazil's 18 goals during the event. That marks the biggest tally for a Brazilian World Cup side since 1970, when Pele, Jairzinho and company had 19.

"As the game went on, we have to say that our players looked more and more tired. It really began to show, especially against the Brazilian forwards," Voeller said. "(They) are so fast on the ball, so good on the ball, so strong on the ball, working with each other all the time. The whole of the (German) team had to be constantly on the watch out for these individual skills."

The 1970 and 2002 Brazil teams are the only World Cup champions to finish with perfect records, winning all six matches 32 years ago in Mexico and seven in Korea/Japan.

In the starting 11 for his ball-winning ability in midfield, Kleberson not only assisted on Ronaldo's second goal, but also nearly scored twice in the closing minutes of the first half.

Kleberson sent an 18-yard shot between the legs of Metzelder and just wide of the right post. The Atletico Paranaense midfielder also rattled the crossbar with a long-range effort in the 45th minute.

 


 
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