YOKOHAMA — An uncharacteristic blunder by German captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and an equally typical piece of clinical finishing by Ronaldo handed Brazil its record fifth World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Germany at Yokohama Stadium on Sunday.

Brazil had not scored in a World Cup final for 32 years, the last goal coming off the boot of Carlos Alberto in Mexico in the 1970 final against Italy, while Germany had never failed to score in the tournament showpiece.

These statistics were laid to rest as Ronaldo grabbed two goals to bury his demons of four years ago in France when he had a seizure before the match and his team lost 3-0 to the French.

“The goals crowned my work and the work of the whole team. I worked for two and a half years trying to recover from that injury and today God reserved this for me and the Brazilian team,” Ronaldo said.

He dedicated his goals to “my family in the first place and my physiotherapist who fought with me without knowing that we would be here two years later.”

The first of his two goals arrived in the 66th minute and owed more to the poor handling of the widely regarded best ‘keeper in the world, Kahn, than to any individual brilliance on the part of the Brazilians. Ronaldo robbed the ball off Dietmar Hamann before laying it off to Rivaldo, who drilled a left-foot drive straight at Kahn. Kahn then inexplicably allowed the ball to rebound off his chest when he appeared to have it covered and Ronaldo was on hand to gratefully tuck it away.

If the first goal owed more to the misfortune of the Germans, the second goal was devastating in its execution. Kleberson raced down the right wing, centering a ball to Rivaldo who sold the German defense a dummy, letting the ball run to Ronaldo who in turn steered a right-foot shot past the lunging Kahn and inside the right post to put possession of the World Cup trophy well within its reach.

“I feel pleasure, a joy that the people of Brazil are feeling now. The joy of knowing we did our job, but it was full of very hard work. Brazil back as world champions — that is not something we can forget,” Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said after the game.

“The secret was the unity of the boys, they all concentrated on one main objective. We were feeling the positive energy of the support of the Brazilian people.”

Brazil had welcomed back Ronaldinho to its starting lineup after a one-game suspension for his sending off against England, while Germany chose the diminutive Oliver Neuville to partner Miroslav Klose up front.

The first 15 minutes of the first half was as tense and tight as one would expect from a game of such magnitude, with both sides reluctant to commit to any attacking play.

As the half progressed, the Germans began to look as efficient and reliable as the luxury vehicles that the country is famous for manufacturing, exposing Brazil’s vulnerability at the back and utilizing some well-worked moves down either flank with midfielder Bernd Schneider featuring predominantly at the wheel.

However it was Brazil which created the first realistic goalscoring opportunity. A perfectly waited through ball from Ronaldinho found Ronaldo unmarked in the box, but the striker somehow appeared to catch stage fright at the crucial moment shooting tamely wide with the imposing figure of Kahn looming large.

In the 29th minute Ronaldo was again put clean through inside the penalty area but this time could not get the ball sufficiently under control to inflict any damage on the Germans.

Five minutes before halftime Kleberson produced an amazing burst of speed to puncture a hole in the German rearguard but his shot could not match the quality of his run and Germany was again let off the hook.

Three minutes later, however, the same player found the shooting range that had moments earlier eluded him cracking a shot onto the crossbar with Kahn well beaten.

Germany had yet to play a team ranked in the top 20 in the world in the tournament to date and this was beginning to show as Brazil conjured up yet another chance in first-half injury time. A low drive into the box ricocheted off a German defender to fall invitingly at the feet of Ronaldo who hit an instinctive first-time shot that Kahn managed to block with his legs.

While the woodwork had come to the rescue of the Germans in the first half, the Brazilians were to find a similar savior at the beginning of the second.

A vicious drive from 35 meters out by Neuville was brilliantly tipped onto the upright by Brazilian ‘keeper Marcos at full stretch.

This was the closest that the Germans got to scoring in the second half as Brazil continued to assert its authority on the game.

The Germans may have been forgiven for losing their concentration a few minutes before Kahn’s error, when Edmilson, in the absence of his mother, took a full three minutes to put on a fresh shirt after his old one got torn. Perhaps it was the elbow to the head he received in the opening 10 minutes.

The mentally tough Germans never gave up and had a fleeting chance to get back into the match in the 82nd minute when an Oliver Bierhoff shot on the turn was again expertly saved by Marcos.

But the day belonged to the Brazilian players who in maintaining their perfect record (7-0) in this tournament, will have brought a sparkle to the 27 five-pointed stars in their national flag and 170 million Brazilians back home.

“Germany played very physical football and that’s what we expected. But we deserved to win.

“The secret was solidarity and dedication — the way we all work for each other,” said Scolari.

“I wanted to transmit to the players the idea that in Brazil to be second is to be last,” he added.

“Our mentality is to be first and it’s marvellous that we have achieved that.”

Germany defender Christoph Metzelder, gracious in defeat, congratulated Brazil on their triumph. “Well done to Brazil, a super World Cup. It just wasn’t to be,” he said.

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