Brazil wins World Cup

Ronaldo scored two goals yesterday, and Brazil beat Germany 2-0 to win their record fifth World Cup title. The Brazilian striker, who suffered from a mysterious illness before his team’s ill-fated ’98 final against France, has exorcised his demons.

And although he won the Yashin Trophy for being the Cup’s best goalkeeper, German shot stopper Oliver Kahn could not hold Rivaldo’s 67th minute shot; the rebound spilled to Ronaldo, who tucked it away for the game’s decisive tally. “I am fully aware that this is the only mistake I made in the seven matches of the World Cup,” Kahn said after the game. “That one mistake was brutally punished.”

So World Cup 2002 is over. Though the semifinals and the final were rather lifeless, the earlier stages of the tournament were phenomenal. Michael Davies, writing on ESPN.com, sums it up nicely: “…the truth is this was a World Cup of highs and lows, of positives and negatives, of yin and yang. It was a World Cup of karma, of settled scores and of reputations built over years undone in an instant. It was not a World Cup, on the whole, of unforgettable football. But It was a World Cup that has, perhaps, changed the landscape, the hierarchy of worldwide football. Or maybe it hasn’t. We’ll see in 2006…”

World Cup: looking back at 72 years

This World Cup has unquestionably been one of the most exciting ever. In the 72 years since the tournament’s inception, only seven teams have ever won the title: England, Brazil, Germany, Italy, France, Argentina, and Uruguay. This year, only Germany, England, and Brazil have made it to the quarterfinals, where they’re joined by Spain, Senegal, S. Korea, Turkey, and the US. England plays Brazil tomorrow morning at 2:30 a.m. Eastern, and the American team battles Germany at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.