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   June 26, 2002 | 1855 IST


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Ronaldo goal puts Brazil in final

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Bill Barclay

Ronaldo fired Brazil into a World Cup final showdown with Germany when he grabbed a 49th-minute winner to give the South Americans a 1-0 semi-final victory over outsiders Turkey, on Wednesday.

Ronaldo's shot, which Turkey goalkeeper Rustu Recber got a hand to but could not keep out, decided a tight tussle at Saitama stadium that the four-times world champions thoroughly deserved to win and takes them through to their seventh World Cup final.

Ronaldo rejoices after scoringThe goal lifted the Brazilian striker to the top of the tournament scoring chart with six goals, one more than team mate Rivaldo and Germany's Miroslav Klose.

It also set up the first ever clash at the World Cup between Brazil and Germany, the two most successful sides in the tournament's history with seven wins between them. Germany beat a co-hosts South Korea 1-0 in the other semi-final on Tuesday.

Turkey, playing in their first World Cup semi-final, started brightly but were eventually overrun by Brazil's attacking play.

Rivaldo, who was seeking a record-equalling sixth goal in successive World Cup finals matches, carried the main attacking threat for Brazil in a first half that quickly came to the boil.

Turkey's short-passing game caused the South Americans problems initially and Alpay Ozalan stretched goalkeeper Marcos with a 20th-minute header.

Brazil were stung into a fierce response and Rustu did superbly to save a fierce Rivaldo drive and the follow-up from Ronaldo.

Rustu was suddenly under siege, denying Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos and, bravely, Edilson before the interval as tempers began to fray.

But if Rustu was Turkey's first-half hero, he was caught out for Ronaldo's goal four minutes after the interval.

The Brazilian turned his marker well and bore down on goal with customary menace but his poked effort with the outside of his right foot from 15 metres lacked power and Rustu should have done better than help it into the corner of the net.

Brazil, making light of creative midfielder Ronaldinho's absence through suspension, continued to have the better of it after that and Kleberson and Luizao, on for Ronaldo, could have made their victory more comfortable.

Turkey go out with their heads held high, though, and there was no repeat of the ugly scenes in Brazil's 2-1 victory in the group game between the two sides on June 3 when two Turks were sent off, the second after Rivaldo feigned injury.

Brazil now face Germany in the World Cup final on Sunday in Japan's port city of Yokohama.

Since World War Two, either the Brazilians or Germans have featured in every final except one.

Turkey play co-hosts South Korea in the third-place playoff in Taegu on Saturday.

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