Ronaldo improved considerably Sunday from
his disappointing performance in the World Cup opener.
He still looks little like the striker who led Brazil to its world title.
Despite another average outing in Brazil's 2-0 win over Australia in
Munich, Ronaldo participated and threatened more than in the match
"I'm happy with my improvement and with the national team's victory,"
Ronaldo came close to scoring in the 41st minute, but his powerful
right-footed shot from about 20 yards just missed the net.
The goal would've made him Brazil's all-time leading scorer in World
Cups with 13 goals. He has 12, tied with Pele.
"There was a very big difference compared to the other match," Brazil
coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. "Little by little, he will get his
Ronaldo was crucial to Brazil winning its 2002 title in South Korea and
Japan with eight goals in seven matches - including two in the final.
Ronaldo misplayed easy balls and was late getting to some passes on
Sunday. He was substituted by Robinho in the 72nd minute.
Just before the kick off, Brazil's fans showed their support for the
striker, loudly yelling his name. The chants continued throughout the
match whenever the striker touched the ball.
The Real Madrid player is only three goals short of becoming the
tournament's all-time leading scorer. He has one goal fewer then Just
Fontaine of France, and two fewer than Gerd Muller of Germany.
Ronaldo, playing in his fourth World Cup, has scored 65 goals in 101
matches for with Brazil. Pele netted 95 in 114 matches.
Ronaldo barely touched the ball in Brazil's 1-0 opening win against
Croatia, being substituted in the 69th minute, also by Robinho.
Ronaldo has been dealing with a series of distractions since arriving
for Brazil's training camp three weeks ago, including a weight
controversy and a string of minor health problems.
Ronaldo had to be taken to a Frankfurt hospital on Wednesday after
complaining of dizziness and was only cleared to start on Sunday only
after results came back negative.
Brazil had tried to steer attention away from Ronaldo all week, hoping
to focus solely on the Australia match.
As a 17-year-old, Ronaldo was with Brazil when it won its fourth title
in 1994 in the United States. He could equal Pele's feat as a three-time
World Cup winner. Pele won it in 1958, '62 and '70.