Rivaldo finally explains if Ronaldinho meant that free-kick against England

Brazil legend Rivaldo has opened up about the 2002 World Cup quarter-final against England, which Brazil won 2-1 after a memorable free-kick goal from Ronaldinho.

The former Barcelona superstar caught out Three Lions stopper David Seaman with an audacious 42-yard strike and there has long been speculation over whether Ronaldinho actually meant it or not.

His longtime team-mate Rivaldo, who scored Brazil's opener in the clash, has now revealed the strike was indeed on purpose, with Ronaldinho noticing that "Seaman had that tendency to take one or two steps forward at free kicks and so he tried to surprise him".

Speaking in his role as a Betfair ambassador, Rivaldo said: "I remember well that match against England at World Cup 2002 in which we won 2-1.

"Ronaldinho gave a brilliant performance that day, setting up an excellent play and assisting me for our first goal. My goal was important for us, as we managed to equalise right before half-time.

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"Then at the second half, he scored that famous goal from way outside the box that surprised David Seaman and all the world, me included.

"I never thought he could try such strike, but it worked perfectly. After the match, he told me that he knew that Seaman had that tendency to take one or two steps forward at free kicks and so he tried to surprise him.

"That match was particularly remarkable because Ronaldinho was sent off with half an hour to play and we had to fight hard to contain English pressure until the end.

"To score a goal from such a tough position, and with your right foot, is amazing because it would be more plausible for a lefty to do it.

"For Ronaldinho, though, there were no impossible tasks and it was a joy to watch him play and to share the pitch with him many times."

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Brazil legend Ronaldinho arrested in Paraguay over alleged fake passport claims

Legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho has been arrested in Paraguay after amid the alleged fake passport scandal.

Prosecutors in the capital city Asuncion said on Wednesday that Ronaldinho and his brother Roberto Assis used fake documentation when he arrived into the country.

Gilberto Fleitas, the head of the investigations unit of the Paraguayan police, announced on Friday that Ronaldinho and his brother were taken into custody after an alternative punishment proposal was not ratified by a prosecutor.

Fleitas told Reuters: "The detention order has been carried out."

Ronaldinho, 39, will now face a judge on Saturday, who will decide whether the pair will remain detained or whether they will be freed while investigations continue.

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The arrest is said to have come hours before the brothers were poised to leave the South American country.

It has been a torrid visit to the landlocked nation for the pair after they were held by police for questioning on Wednesday after presenting falsified passports on their arrival into Asuncion.

They were said to be in Paraguay to attend a charity event.

TV pictures on Friday showed the pair being taken in a police vehicle from the Sheraton Hotel to a police station on the outskirts of the city.

It was reported that the brothers recognised they committed a crime but said they did so unwittingly and were assisting the police with their enquiries.

All parties were expected to come to an agreement on Friday about the punishment that everyone involved will receive.

Speaking earlier in the week, prosecutor Federico Delfino said: "We are looking for an alternative way out of this that doesn't result in a formal accusation and that recognises that these people were, we can say, taken by surprise.”

But the judge rejected Delfino's recommendation and the pair were arrested.

Ronaldinho enjoyed a glittering career, winning 97 caps for Brazil and being pivotal in their 2002 World Cup win.

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He won the Ballon d'Or as the best player in the world during the peak of his powers with Barcelona in 2005 before a spell with AC Milan.

He then returned back to Brazil with Atletico Mineiro in 2012 and retired after a brief stint with Fluminense in 2015.

His retirement was officially confirmed in January 2018, three years after his last professional appearance, having had a brief stint playing futsal in India.

The playmaker is one of only seven players to have won the Champions League, World Cup and Ballon d'Or during their career.

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Unknown threat to Australia's Cup campaign

The Australian women’s side face an unknown enemy in Thursday’s T20 match, anything less than a victory spelling an end to their World Cup campaign.

Perry's shoulder not an issue

Australia will take on Bangladesh in a must-win fixture at Manuka Oval on Thursday evening to keep their World Cup dream alive.

Bangladesh are arguably the weakest side in Australia’s group, but after losing their opening fixture against India last week, every match is crucial for Meg Lanning and her teammates.

These two sides have never played each other in the sport’s shortest format, adding and extra sense of uncertainty for the Australians.

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Play is scheduled to commence at 7pm AEDT.

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Unknown threat to Australia's Cup campaign

Australian women’s cricket has moved from strength to strength with its top flight now fully-fledged professionals.

Lanning said the scrutiny Australia had faced over the past week just proved how much has been achieved.

“People want us to do well and I think it’s a great sign,” she said.

“Obviously you’d much prefer to be playing excellent cricket and everything going your way but that’s the reality, it doesn’t just happen in world cups and you’ve got to be able to fight your way through difficult periods.

“All we’ve talked about over the last two days is playing Bangladesh and how we could improve.”

Lanning defended batting their best player Ellyse Perry at six and seven in the opening games and backed the superstar all-rounder to have a big impact on the rest of the tournament.

“The top six batters all could open the batting realistically and it just genuinely comes down to the matchups on the day and the game situations,” Lanning said.

“Ellyse is a world-class player and no doubt she’ll get her chance at some point but we’ve just got to be really flexible and whatever the team needs we’re going to do.”

All-rounder Sophie Molineux must pass a fitness test to play her first match of the tournament.


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