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   June 17, 2002 | 1855 IST


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Brazil through to last eight

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Brian Homewood

A spectacular Rivaldo goal and a late Ronaldo effort gave Brazil a 2-0 victory over Belgium and sent them into the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Monday.

For the first hour of the game, the four-times champions were matched by the underdogs from Europe and were robbed of a goal by a controversial refereeing decision and a series of fine saves by goalkeeper Marcos.

Rivaldo celebrates after scoring.Rivaldo struck in the 67th minute, controlling a high pass from Ronaldinho on his chest with his back to goal, bringing the ball under control with his next touch and then scoring on the turn with a shot that deflected off defender Timmy Stevens.

Ronaldo matched his team mate's goal-a-game record with a left foot strike from inside the area three minutes from time.

Ronaldo, equal top scorer for the tournament, now has five goals and Rivaldo four.

Brazil play England on Friday for a place in the semi-finals, in a replay of the famous 1970 World Cup game won 1-0 by Brazil.

The game may have hinged on the effort which Belgium had disallowed in the 36th minute.

Jacky Peters sent over an inswinging cross from the right, Marc Wilmots won a tussle with Roque Junior and headed the ball into the net beyond a despairing Marcos only to see the referee disallow his effort, apparently for pushing.

But replays suggested that Wilmots's leap was a clean one and that the decision was extremly harsh on the Europeans.

Belgium began by giving Brazil a first-minute fright when a dipping long-range effort from Mbo Mpenza was tipped over by Marcos.

Brazil then took control of the first half, although their defence looked vulnerable every time Belgium lofted a high ball into their area.

Roberto Carlos was close with a viciously swerving free kick while Ronaldo had three good chances to break the deadlock.

The Inter Milan striker finished off a darting run by the lively Ronaldinho by firing just past the top corner, then forced goalkeeper Geert de Vlieger to dive at his feet as he homed in on goal.

His most spectacular attempt came when he met Rivaldo's cross from the left with an acrobatic volley but the ball again flew narrowly wide.

Belgium made a bold start to the second half and Wilmots was unlucky again when his awkward bouncing shot from outside the area was turned around the post at the last minute by Marcos.

Marcos again saved the four-times champions when he dived at the feet of Mpenza to block his shot from close range at the far post in the 55th minute.

Marcos made an even better save in the 62nd minute when he turned around a curling shot by Wilmots after he had cut inside Lucio.

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