I don't have children, but as expected I have parents, and as a child I used to think that the last thing I ever wanted to happen in my life was if my parents were disappointed in me. Like, if they ever looked at me and thought, "Jesus, he could've been so much more". I guess I wouldn't like to feel like that towards my future children either (but don't let them read this, I don't wanna be overbearing).
Why am I saying this? Well, it is a bit of how we Brazilians feel about Ronaldo. It's not that we don't like him; it's just that we know he is capable of doing a lot. He's raised his own bar so high we expect him to reach it again every time.
He is definitely not as fast as in 1998, but he is a hell of a better player. His vision and reading of the game improved by quantum leaps; he holds the ball in front of the area for long enough to distribute it the best way, or to time his shot until it cannot be missed. Adriano's goal against Australia and his own second goal today stand to prove.
As much as his namesake Ronaldinho dictates the game in midfield, Ronaldo is the valve in attack, the key decision maker that defines who will deliver the mercy shot at the keeper. He has become the Riquelme of the centre-forwards - a master of technique, guile and directness instead of the pacy virtuoso of the late 90's.
And Ghana without Michael Essien will be a great opportunity to keep showing that. Unless the coach resumes to the stupid formation that puts him and Adriano in the very same position.
In 2002 Brazil played the third game with some reserves, having already qualified. We played in white shorts, and scored four goals; two of them by Ronaldo and one by the reserve left-back.
Same in 2006.
I do like Australia. Maybe a Liverpool fan bias for Kewell, but I also think Brett Emerton is one of the best midfielders in this Cup (at least one of the most influential for his team) and Viduka is also looking very sharp. But Italy might prove a bit too much, especially without Emerton.
And why didn't Schwarzer play today for Christ's sake?
Anyway, I had bet before the Cup on Australia and Ecuador reaching the Last 16.
I cannot start my day properly without reading World Cup Blogs at the Guardian.