Brazil vs. Belgium
Kobe Wing Stadium (Capacity: 42,000)
8:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. ET)
Live on ESPN & Univision
How They Got Here: Brazil won Group C, posting three wins in group play and outscoring opponents 11-3; Belgium finished second in Group H, recording two draws and a win while outscoring opponents 6-5.
BRA - Ronaldo (4 goals), Rivaldo (3 goals);
BEL - Marc Wilmots (3 goals)
Surprisingly, both Brazil and Belgium have impressive World Cup histories. Think of a World Cup and you think of Brazil. The only team to win four World Cups is also the only team to qualify for each and every World Cup, dating back to the first one in 1930.
Belgium is appearing in their sixth straight World Cup, a streak matched only by world powers Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Spain. Interestingly, Belgium is the only squad to actually qualify for six consecutive World Cups (discounting hosts and defending champs). While Belgium has finished higher than 10th only once (4th place in 1986), they have only finished worse than 15th once (19th in 1998) in their ten previous appearances.
Belgium has shown two sides in this tournament – drawing 1-1 with a weak Tunisia and then turning around and posting a convincing 3-2 win over Russia.
As expected, forward and captain Marc Wilmots has led the Belgium side, scoring three goals in the first round. With his goal against Russia in the final group match he became Belgium’s all-time leading World Cup scorer with five goals. Wilmots also led the team in scoring during qualifying with eight goals, including a stretch in which he scored in five straight games.
Brazil, meanwhile, has been one of the most impressive teams in the first round. Coach Phil Scolari has put the attacking swagger back in Brazil, and Brazil scored 11 goals in the first round.
Brazilian soccer seemed to hit rock bottom when the squad almost did not qualify for the 2002 World Cup, finishing in third place in CONMEBOL qualifying and suffering an amazing six defeats in 18 qualifiers.
But the return of two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldo has helped turn Brazil around. Ronaldo scored four goals in the first round, as he and Rivaldo (three goals) tallied in each of Brazil’s three wins.
The winner of in Kobe advances to face England on June 21 in Shizuoka, Japan.
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished second in UEFA “Group 6” (5-1-2; 25 GF, 6 GA); defeated Czech Republic in home-and-home playoff 2-0 on aggregate score.
World Cup final appearances: 11 – 1930 (11th), 1934 (15th), 1938 (13th), 1954 (12th), 1970 (10th), 1982 (10th), 1986 (4th), 1990 (11th), 1994 (11th), 1998 (19th), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 9-16-8
Manager: Robert Waseige (BEL)
World Cup Roster
1-Geert De Vlieger, 2-Eric Deflandre, 3-Glen De Boeck, 4-Eric Van Meir, 5 Van Kerckhoven Nico, 6-Timmy Simons, 7-Marc Wilmots, 8-Bart Goor, 9-Wesley Sonck, 10-Johan Walem, 11-Gert Verheyen, 12-Peter Van Der Heyden, 13-Franky Vandendriessche, 14-Sven Vermant, 15-Jacky Peeters, 16-Daniel Van Buyten, 17-Gaetan Englebert, 18-Yves Vanderhaeghe, 19-Bernd Thijs, 20-Branko Strupar, 21-Danny Boffin, 22-Mbo Mpenza, 23-Frederic Herpoel
2002 World Cup qualifying: Finished third in CONMEBOL Final Group (9-6-3; 31 GF, 17 GA)
World Cup final appearances: 17– 1930 (6th), 1934 (14th), 1938 (3rd), 1950 (2nd), 1954 (5th), 1958 (1st), 1962 (1st), 1966 (11th), 1970 (1st), 1974 (4th), 1978 (3rd), 1982 (5th), 1986 (5th), 1990 (9th), 1994 (1st), 1998 (2nd), 2002
Overall Record in WC: 53-13-14
Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari (BRA)
Championship Honors: 1958, 1962, 1970 & 1994 World Cup champions; 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, & 1999 Copa America champions; 1997 Confederations Cup champions.
World Cup Roster
1-Marcos, 2-Cafu, 3-Lucio, 4-Roque Junior, 5-Edmilson, 6-Roberto Carlos, 7-Emerson, 8-Gilberto Silva, 9-Ronaldo, 10-Rivaldo, 11-Ronaldinho, 12-Dida, 13-Belletti, 14-Anderson Polga, 15-Kleberson, 16-Junior, 17-Denilson, 18-Vampeta, 19-Juninho Paulista, 20-Edilson, 21-Luizao, 22-Rogerio Ceni, 23-Kaka