Brazil has left an indelible mark on the World Cup, and they are undoubtedly the most successful team in the competition’s history, with five wins to their name.
It seems, however, scarcely believable that the Selecao last got their hands on the coveted Jules Rimet trophy 20 years ago in a team that oozed with talent and contained the three famous Rs – Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho.
The Samba Kings will be among the usual World Cup contenders in Qatar in a couple of months. They boast a huge fanbase, and they have a penchant for lighting things up on the world’s biggest stage. And for those wishing to place a bet on World Cup soccer, then Brazil is currently the favorite with most sportsbooks, including FanDuel, where they are priced at +500 to lift the tournament.
The class of 2002, however, was nothing short of legendary. With Brazil looking to end their World Cup drought, we have decided to rewind the clock and reminisce on the halcyon days, recalling some of the country’s key moments from that campaign.
Fortune Along the Way
In any tournament, some teams will get the rub of the green. But as the famous saying goes: “Fortune favors the brave,” and in the case of Brazil, the footballing gods were certainly shining on them.
This was encapsulated perfectly in the quarter-final, where the Selecao denied England’s ‘Golden Generation of lifting a major trophy. Ronaldinho was the architect of England’s downfall, and he set Brazil on their way to victory with a fluky set-piece.
The mesmerizing playmaker spotted David Seaman off his line when he lined up his free kick. However, Seaman was deceived by the audacious attempt that floated over his head and into the top corner of the net. To this day, we are still trying to establish whether Ronaldinho meant to shoot or whether it was purely an overhit cross!
Ronaldo Steals the Show
After the trials and tribulations of the 1998 World Cup, where he was left out of the starting line-up for the Final due to a mysterious injury, Ronaldo more than made amends in 2002.
Ronaldo was faultless with his performances from start to finish in the joint-hosted World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and he was a man on a mission. He netted eight times, which included a double in the Final against Germany, as he swept his way to the Golden Boot.
Intriguingly, 89% of Brazil’s goals at the 2002 World Cup were scored by one of the three Rs, but few had the killer touch that Ronaldo had when through in goal.
Where are They Now?
Much time has elapsed since the 2002 World Cup, and many have kept themselves busy during their retirement. For example, Brazil’s captain Cafu launched an autobiography series entitled A saga Cafu, which recounts his early playing days, including his spells in Spain and Italy.
Whereas left-back Roberto Carlos was spotted earlier this year playing Sunday league football after a side won a raffle for him to play. Carlos was also involved in the Soccer Aid charity match, which was staged at the London Stadium earlier in the summer.
Meanwhile, Gilberto Silva has stayed in the game and recalibrated as a football agent, and he was responsible for working on the deal that took his client Fred to Manchester United back in 2018.