Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Reclamation of Ronaldo?

It took him until the 45th minute to do so, but Brazil's Ronaldo--who has been hampered of late by his bad match form, weight, insecurity, what have you--finally regained his dazzle by delivering a crucial header to equalize against a determined Japanese side right before the half. Though I didn't hold out much hope for the scrappy yet occasionally fluid Samurai Blues--who I was rooting for because of sentimental reasons--I was elated that poor Ronaldo had finally come alive and seemed focused on reintroducing himself to the world. Even the small group of outnumbered Japanese supporters hunkered within the smokey bowels of the divey Marathon tavern couldn't resist the return of one of the greatest and most feared Brazilian strikers.

Has Ronaldo returned fully fit and confident for the rest of the World Cup? That's impossible to answer after a single match, especially considering that his two goals (however joyous to watch) weren't jaw-dropping or spectacular. But it's a start, and his committed turnaround shot in the 80th minute (which put the brave Brazilian even in all-time World Cup scoring with Germany's Gerd Muller) certainly had me excited to behold the transformation taking place.

Did anyone, outside of the few Japanese fans in attendance, really think that the Samurai Blues could pull off a cataclysmic upset? Not really, though I did manage to get swept away with my wish-fulfillment until the barking yet amiable Aussie started jeering and haranguing the Japanese to surrender all hope, Brazil was about to crush them with happy feet.

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