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Brazil Beats Belgium 2-0 - 2002-06-17


Four-time World Cup champion Brazil has beaten Belgium 2-0 to advance from the second round to the quarterfinals of football's most famous tournament.

The Belgians battled the Brazilians through a scoreless first half in Kobe, Japan. Belgian captain Marc Wilmots, the main play-maker for his team during the match, had a goal of a header waved off by the referee because of a penalty.

The Belgian defense worked hard to foil the Brazilian attack, which had scored 11 goals in three matches during the first round.

In the 67th minute, though, Brazilian star Rivaldo broke the scoreless deadlock with one of the most spectacular goals of this 17th World Cup. He controlled a pass from teammate Ronaldinho with his chest, brought the ball down with his left foot, and in one fluid motion kicked the ball into the net.

Dragan Milenkovic is a sports reporter for the Yugoslav news agency Danas. In a brief post-match interview with VOA Sports, he described some of the qualities that make Rivaldo one of his favorite players. "I like Rivaldo very much," he said. "I think he is a man who is cold. He is very sensitive, but kind of cold. He thinks coldly. He decides when to do and what to do at very important moments. So I like him very much."

Brazil sealed its victory over Belgium with a goal by Ronaldo in the 87th minute. Between them, Ronaldo and Rivaldo have combined for 9 goals so far at the World Cup; Ronaldo has 5 and Rivaldo 4.

Among the fans watching the Brazil-Belgium match in Kobe was English star David Beckham and some of his teammates. Beckham will captain England against Brazil in a quarterfinal Friday in Shizuoka, Japan.

Earlier Monday, the United States beat Mexico 2-0 in Jeonju, South Korea, to advance to the quarterfinals. It is the first time the Americans have advanced past the second round since the first World Cup in 1930, when the team made it to the semi-finals. The United States will play Germany Friday.

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