Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira
will continue to play the out-of-form Ronaldo despite the performances
of Fred and Robinho during the 2-0 win over Australia here.
The victory ensured Brazil qualified for the round of 16 with a game to
spare, although they will need at least a point in their final group
game against Japan to finish on top of Group F if second-placed
Australia beat third-placed Croatia in the final group game.
Parreira again substituted Ronaldo during the match against the
Socceroos, after the star striker again made little impression -
although he did set up the opening goal for Adriano in the 49th minute.
But when he was replaced by Robinho in the 71st minute, Brazil
immediately looked more dangerous with the substitute setting up the
second goal for Fred in the 89th minute after crashing a shot against
However Parreira defended Ronaldo after the game, saying his performance
had been a big improvement on his effort during the opening 1-0 group
win over Croatia.
"He is slowly getting his rhythm back," he said of the Real Madrid
striker, who has been criticised for being overweight.
"But he needs to play more games to get more rhythm."
"He is gradually getting fitter but the only way he will continue to get
fitter is to play more games."
Parreira said Ronaldo would start against Japan in the final group game,
denying he should be replaced by either Robinho or Fred following their
key contributions off the bench against the Socceroos.
"Robinho is a different player to Ronaldo," Parreira said.
"But it's also much different coming on for the last 20 minutes,
compared to playing for the first 70."
"The game was opening up more and there was a lot more space (for
Robinho compared to Ronaldo)."
While the Brazilian media appear to be clamouring for Robinho to take
the place of Ronaldo in the world champions' starting XI, Parreira
He explained: "Robinho can help us and I am using him in a way where he
can help the team."
But he added that competition for places in the starting line-up was
part of everyday life for Brazilian players.
"It's not just about (the starting) 11 players, I can put on any of my
23 squad members."
Parreira said he was pleased to qualify for the second round and hinted
some players may be rested for the Japan match to ensure the team were
at their peak for the start of the knockout phase.