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Kaka gives Brazil record-breaking win

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Last updated on: June 14, 2006 03:08 IST

World champions Brazil became the first team in World Cup history to win eight successive matches in the finals when they opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Croatia at the Olympiastadion on Tuesday.

It was not the most memorable of victories, but Brazil clinched all three Group F points with a truly memorable goal from Kaka a minute before halftime.

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He controlled a pass from Cafu and made space for himself by holding off a challenge from two defenders before lashing home an unstoppable left-foot curler from 25 metres that gave Croatia's impressive goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa no chance.

Pletikosa made two vital saves to keep his side in the game: first from a blistering long-range Roberto Carlos shot from 25 metres after 15 minutes and then from a point-blank Ronaldinho header in the 62nd minute.

That inspired the Croatian forwards to go in search of the equaliser and Dida was kept busy at the other end as Dado Prso, Marko Babic and Jerko Leko kept the Brazilian defence under pressure.

That is more than can be said for Ronaldo, who had a poor game in the Brazil attack, recalling his woeful performance in the 1998 World Cup final, and it was no surpise when coach Carlos Alberto Parreira replaced him with Robinho after 69 minutes.

Brazil failed to reach their exalted heights of magical football but they showed their usual touches of brilliance in flashes -- and defended well and in depth when they had to.

Brazil won all seven matches in 2002 to win the World Cup for a fifth time -- and this victory extended that run to eight matches with Australia the next likely victims in Munich on Sunday.