On this day in 2002, the great Ronaldinho left a country in tatters after an ‘unexpected’ free kick nestled into the back of the net. Did he mean it? According to the man himself, he was indeed aiming for the target.
“I saw that he was off his line. About five meters off. I was really aiming for the goal,” the Brazilian told FourFourTwo in 2015. “Although not exactly true [the ball] went. I just wanted Seaman to be desperate and maybe stumble on the way back.
“It was a great goal in my best game for Brazil at that World Cup.”
Despite his confession seven years ago, the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain attacker recently admitted that the goal against England was not entirely intentional.
“No, it wasn’t on purpose,” Ronaldinho told SPORTbible ahead of the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in May. “But we studied it a lot and we knew that the English goalkeeper – he kind of picked up the advance.
“I was actually lucky that the ball came in like that. For the sadness of many English and for the happiness of so many Brazilians.”
England’s often reliable goalkeeper, David Seaman, looked around in bewilderment as millions shouted at their television sets. Screams of injustice flooded primary school gyms across the country.
World Cup heartache beckoned again and finally the World Cup dream of many fans was taken away in the most cruel way after such a positive start.
Michael Owen opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with a neat finish, sparking huge scenes across the country.
FLASH BACK: #On this day in 2002 England 1-2 Brazil in the World Cup quarter-final.
Michael Owen gave England the lead in kick-off at 730, then David Seaman fell asleep and Ronaldinho sent Sven’s men home…pic.twitter.com/UdSRMLup3c
— A funny old game (@sid_lambert) June 21, 2018
Brazilian striker Rivaldo quickly equalized in the 45th minute and not long after that infamous Ronaldinho free kick in the 57th minute would make it 2-1.
We all expected him to throw it in the mixer — or even pass it on to a nearby teammate — but no one, and I mean no one, predicted what would happen.
Some say Seaman should have done better. I say it differently.
Has anyone ever placed the ball for a free kick as casually as Ronaldinho placed the ball before scoring against England in 2002? pic.twitter.com/QrhfSQXAzs
— Jack Lang (@jacklang) June 12, 2018
Where were you when Ronaldinho scored that free kick to lower hopes for the World Cup in England?
Let us know your memories in the comments.