Ronaldinho opens up about his goal vs England at 2002 World Cup | inside World Soccer

Ronaldinho opens up about his goal vs England at 2002 World Cup

Saturday, March 23, 2024

David Seaman watches the ball sail over his head as England fall to another World Cup exit in the quarter-finals
Photo: Neal Simpson/EMPICS

Brazil and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has revealed the truth behind his infamous goal which broke England's hearts at the 2002 World Cup.

It's 22 years since Ronaldinho scored one of the most iconic goals in World Cup history to help Brazil beat England 2-1 in their quarter-final clash at the Shizuoka Stadium.

England boasted a fabulous team containing the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand, but they didn't shine as bright as Brazil's team, who would go on to lift the trophy.

Owen had put the Three Lions a goal up but Rivaldo equalised before the break and moments into the second-half, Ronaldinho stood over a free-kick from an impossible distance.

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Everyone thought he was going to send the ball into the middle of the box for a teammate to attack.

But seeing David Seaman slightly off his line, the Brazilian wizard instead curled the ball into the top corner, catching the England goalkeeper off guard.

The millions watching around the world couldn't believe what had just happened, yet fans have always wondered whether he really meant to chip Seaman.

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During an interview with FIFA in 2022, Ronaldinho claimed he hadn't meant to score directly but had seen Seaman positioned further out than usual.

When I hit the ball I wanted to shoot for goal - but maybe not exactly where the ball ended up. If I'm being totally honest, I was aiming for the other side of the net.

You can't say that [it was a fluke] because I was aware of the goalkeeper's position and went for the shot at goal.

The fact that it did not go in exactly as I planned is secondary to the fact that I was having a go.

What basically happened is that I hit my shot too hard and, as it travelled through the air, it swerved more and ended up looping over Seaman.

There was nothing he could do about it and I suppose there was an element of luck involved - but a goal is a goal!

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