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   June 19, 2002 | 1930 IST


Umit Davala
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Brazil say English soccer has evolved

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Brazilian players admitted on Wednesday that World Cup quarter-final opponents England are now capable of doing more than simply lofting high balls in their penalty area.

"English football is improving year by year, it used to be just the high ball into the area but now they are good enough to pass the ball around," said midfielder Juninho, who has twice played for English premiership club Middlesbrough.

Left-back Roberto Carlos agreed that England had become more sophisticated in the last few years.

"They knock the ball around more, they have better technique," he said.

"We'll try and mark them but remember that they will have a lot of worries about Brazil."

Rivaldo, who has scored one goal in each of Brazil's four matches, pointed to David Beckham as England's danger man, saying that when the ball reached the feet of the Manchester United player, it was worth "half a goal".

"He's a really good player," said Rivaldo.


"He hits the ball really well, be it a cross, be it a corner or a free kick. When he gets the ball, you have to be alert because at any moment he could put a team mate in front of the goal.

"When he gets a shooting chance, it's half a goal because he hits the ball really well."

Rivaldo added: "I think it's going to be an even game, a stop-and-start game, both teams will be afraid of losing and going out of the cup but we have to take risks, we have to try our usual moves.

"At times, (England) are similar to Belgium, they cross a lot of high balls into the area, it will be a difficult game but we are confident and we hope to qualify for the semi-finals.

"We are going to try to settle this game in 90 minutes.

"It's almost a game that will decide the World Cup, I think a lot of people wanted a Brazil-England final, but here were are in the quarter-finals. It's a game with no favourite."

Ronaldo, who has scored five goals in the tournament, agreed that Brazil would concentrate on themselves rather than worry about the opposition.

"We have to go at them from the start without thinking too much about the opposition and play our football," he said.

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