Brazil Beats Malaysia 4-0 in Warmup
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Three quick goals by substitute players in the second half delivered Brazil a 4-0 win over Malaysia Saturday in the South Americans’ last warmup before the World Cup.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is unlikely to take much joy from the victory, however, after a lackluster first half by the Brazilians, including the debut of highly vaunted attacking trio Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.
The famous front line failed to live up to expectations, although Ronaldo scored Brazil’s first goal from a pass from Ronaldinho in the 51st minute. It was the substitutes’ second-half blitz that was most notable.
Scolari told reporters after the match the attack trio lacked aggression in winning the ball, but said he was satisfied overall with the team’s performance.
``The 3Rs’ need to do more to win the ball in the midfield to put pressure on our opponents,″ Scolari said. `` I want more participation from them.″
The friendly was the first on-field glimpse of the lineup Scolari is expected to use in Brazil’s World Cup opener against Turkey on June 3.
Injuries kept key players Rivaldo and midfielder Roberto Carlos out of a warmup against Catalonia earlier this month, and the side’s teamwork appears to have suffered as a result of lack of game-time on the field together.
In Saturday’s first half, the Brazilians showed plenty of individual flair against Malaysia but little teamwork or ideas to break the home side’s packed defense.
The forwards attacking often but couldn’t convert numerous chances.
Ronaldo, once considered the world’s best striker, struggled to find the mark in the first half. He failed to convert at least three good goal chances _ at one stage he had two close range shots in as many minutes and rolled both to Malaysian goalkeeper Azmin Azram.
The Inter Milan star, who has had a long comeback from a knee reconstruction, looked better in the second half. His goal came from a Brazilian pounce on a hesitant Malaysian defense.
``I still need to work on my fitness,″ Ronaldo said. ``My fitness will only improve further as there is a week to go before the match against Turkey. I want to be in peak condition for the World Cup.″
Scolari ordered three changes in the 61st minute, taking off two of the vaunted ``three-Rs″ attack _ Rivaldo and Ronaldinho. Brazil’s second goal followed two minutes later via Juninho, with Denilson and Edilson scoring in the 71st and 78th minutes, respectively.
The most notable goal was Denilson’s. The reserve striker collected the ball in midfield and weaved past several Malaysian players before sending it into the net.
About 60,000 Malaysians gathered at the National Soccer Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, most casting aside national sentiment to back the visitors with cheers and green and yellow jerseys and banners.
``They are the best in the world and they will win the World Cup again,″ 13-year-old Lee Ming Kong said before the match, as his father tied a Brazilian flag around his waist.
Malaysia, which has never made it past the first qualifying round of the World Cup, fielded mostly players from its under-23 side, and they played better than they have in a long time.
Before the match, Brazilian captain Emerson said the match against Malaysia _ ranked outside the world’s 100 best teams _ was ``our last chance to make the necessary adjustments″ before heading to Ulsan, South Korea. The Group C competition includes China and Costa Rica.
Brazil is out to avenge its loss to France in the 1998 World Cup final, but struggled to make it through the qualifying rounds.
Once the sport’s team to beat, Brazil began a downward spiral with the 1998 loss and lost to relative minnows such as Paraguay and Ecuador before scraping through this time.
Brazil: Marcos (Dida), Cafu (Belletti), Lucio (Vampeta), Roque Junior (Anderson Polga), Edmilson (Denilson), Roberto Carlos (Junior), Emerson (Gilberto Silva), Kleberson (Juninho), Ronaldo (Luizao), Rivaldo (Kaka), Ronaldinho (Edilson).
Malaysia: Azmin Azram, Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan (Mohamad Shukor), Norhafiz Zamani, Ahmad Shahrul (Mazuki Yusof), Subri Sulong (Shahril Faizal), Liew Kit Kong, Indraputra Mahayuddin, Akmal Rizal (Hasmawi Hassan), Muhammad Khalid Jamlus (Zainizam Marjan), Muhammad Khaironnisam, Rosdi Talib.