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Adriano pushing for World Cup role

By Kevin Fylan
June 30, 2005 16:45 IST
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Adriano's two goals led Brazil to a crushing 4-1 victory over Argentina in Wednesday's Confederations Cup final and left coach Carlos Alberto Parreira savouring a huge selection problem ahead of the World Cup.

Ronaldo's decision to skip the tournament presented Adriano with a chance he seized gleefully, just as he did in last year's Copa America.

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Twelve months ago, he led the scoring charts with seven goals as Brazil clinched the title with victory over Argentina in the final.

It was a similar story in Germany this month.

His two goals in the final, a wickedly struck shot from the edge of the area to open the scoring and a powerful header for the fourth, took his tally to five and once again earned him the Golden Shoe award for top scorer.

His performance was also enough to clinch the Player of the Tournament award, ahead of Argentina's Juan Roman Riquelme in second and Germany's Michael Ballack in third.

The 23-year-old Inter Milan striker will be demanding a starting place at the World Cup next year but by that time Ronaldo should be back in the squad and even Parreira is not about to play a five-man forward line.

"It's wonderful for Brazilian football that you have Ronaldo, Adriano, Robinho and so many good players up front," said Parreira.

"You can't play all of them together but it means you're always going to have a good replacement. It's a problem that's up to the coach to solve."

Parreira called Adriano up for his first match in charge against China and stuck by him even when he was criticised.


The coach has been particularly impressed by his knack for saving his best performances for the two major tournaments he has played in.

"He's proved himself in competition," Parreira said. "He's been decisive and has shown he is a player who comes good at the right moment.

"That's just what we want -- players who can be at their best at the right moment."

The two awards, and the warm praise from Parreira, were richly deserved for a player who led from the front right from Brazil's first game.

It was Adriano who scored Brazil's opening goal, a stinging 30-metre left-foot drive that set Parreira's side on their way to a 3-0 victory over European champions Greece.

Adriano had arrived late at the Brazil camp, after scoring twice in Inter Milan's Italian Cup final first leg win over Parma.

The extra effort seemed to have taken its toll as a weary-looking Adriano failed to make the same sort of impact in tight games against Mexico, a 1-0 defeat, and Japan, a 2-2 draw.

Parreira was debating whether to rest one or more of the attacking quartet also featuring Kaka, Ronaldinho and Robinho but chose to field all four in the semi-final against Germany.

Adriano raised his game again, scoring twice to lead Brazil to a 3-2 win over the hosts, and he was in similarly devastating form in Wednesday's final.

"You can see how important he is to have in the team," Parreira said. "I don't think there's any team in the world that has as many good attacking players as we do."


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Kevin Fylan
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