Brazil became champions of the world for the fourth time in 1994, however the style in which they did it was often criticised. In the knockout stages they had played with two defensive midfielders and it took away the excitement many associated with watching Brazil.
In 1998 they may not have been the complete exciting package, that say the 1982 side was, but they did have Rivaldo and Ronaldo.
Together Ronaldo and Rivaldo tore apart defences that summer in France. Chile, Denmark, Scotland, Morocco were all blown away by the skill and movement of the two R’s and the semi-final against Netherlands proved no different where the two combined again.
Just as the second half begins Ronaldo beautifully controls Rivaldo’s pass and dispatches his shot under van der Saar to give Brazil the lead…
What Happened Next?
Netherlands equalised in the 87th minute through Patrick Kluivert, but Brazil would get the better of them on a penalty shoot-out and go on to face hosts France in the final.
Shockingly, just an hour before kick-off, it was announced that Ronaldo was out of the Brazil side for the final. It caused a worldwide media storm as journalists desperately scrambled around to find out why the superstar was going to miss the sport’s biggest match.
Minutes later he was in the line-up again, yet although he was there physically, it was clear as soon as the game kicked off that he wasn’t there mentally.
The whole Brazilian side suffered with him while France, inspired by their own genius Zinedine Zidane, won 3-0 — which until the 2014 semi-final against Germany was Brazil’s heaviest defeat in World Cup history.
Redemption came four years later as Ronaldo and Brazil bounced back to win the Golden Boot and World Cup respectively.
The theories regarding Ronaldo’s problem before the final, written just before the final four years later: