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   June 21, 2002 | 1355 IST


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Ronaldinho takes Brazil into last four

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Trevor Huggins

Ronaldinho set up a goal and then scored a stunning one before being controversially sent off as Brazil came from behind to beat England 2-1 and reach the World Cup semi-finals on Friday.

The result establishes Brazil as firm favourites to win the World Cup final in Yokohama on June 30. The four-times champions now play either Senegal or Turkey who meet on Saturday.

In an eagerly-awaited replay of their 1970 World Cup classic, which Brazil won 1-0, England took a 23rd minute lead through Michael Owen after a mistake by defender Lucio.

Michael Owen puts England ahead.Rivaldo equalised in first-half injury time -- his fifth goal in five games -- and Ronaldinho curled a fantastic free-kick over goalkeeper David Seaman from 35 metres in the 50th minute.

Seven minutes after his goal, the Brazilian forward was sent off for fouling Danny Mills, a harsh decision in what was generally a clean game.

Every time they have played England in the World Cup previously -- in 1958, 1962 and 1970 -- Brazil have gone on to win the tournament.

Brazil, who have come back from a goal down to win more matches than any other team in World Cup history, fully deserved to do it for the 13th time after showing more attacking flair and silencing critics who said they could not defend.

"I hoped we would have done a little bit better against 10 men. We maybe could have done better today. It was a great pity," said England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

On the final whistle, Seaman, who clearly blamed himself for Brazil's second, burst into tears and had to be consoled by Beckham.

It is the second time in his career that a long-range shot has beaten Seaman in an important match. In the 1995 European Cup Winners' Cup final, Nayim scored a last minute winner for Real Zaragoza against Arsenal from close to the halfway line.


England pushed hard for an equaliser against 10 men after Ronaldinho's 57th minute dismissal but failed to create any clearcut chances and were simply beaten by a better team.

Ronaldinho celebrates after scoring. Brazil had started out the more threatening with a deflected drive from Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo's neat one-two with Rivaldo setting up a low shot straight at David Seaman.

But the match burst into life when defender Lucio miscued his interception of Emile Heskey's ball upfield, Owen burst into the penalty area and hammered an unstoppable shot past Marcos.

England clung on until the second minute of injury time before a move which started with skipper David Beckham jumping over a two-man tackle.

Ronaldinho collected the pass and shrugged off Ashley Cole's challenge before flicking the ball wide to an unmarked Rivaldo, whose curled shot into the bottom left-hand corner gave Seaman no chance.

The strike maintained his record of scoring once in all five of games so far -- but it paled in comparison with Ronaldinho's stunning free-kick five minutes after the break.

Ronaldinho caught Seaman off his line and the backtracking England keeper could do nothing to prevent the ball sailing into the top left hand corner.

Seven minutes later, he was red carded for the lunge on Mills, the high tackle leaving the England defender writhing on the ground.

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