Brazil and Italy. Sounds familiar.
The finalists from the 1994 World Cup were the first two teams into the quarterfinals of France 98. They did it in divergent styles Saturday, with Brazil routing Chile 4-1 and Italy surviving the heat to beat Norway 1-0.For the brilliant Brazilians, it never was a contest against their South American rivals. Two-time world player of the year Ronaldo hit the net twice and also put shots against the crossbar and the goalpost. Teammate Cesar Sampaio, a defender who manages to get quite involved the flowing attack, had the other two goals.
Marcelo Salas got a late goal for the Chileans, but they now go home, while Brazil heads to the quarterfinals against the winner of Nigeria-Denmark.
Ronaldo, who had promised all week to "break the spell" in which he had just one goal in three games, scored on a penalty kick in injury time of the first half. He got a clean goal in the 70th minute, as well as shots that clanged against the goalpost and crossbar in his best showing in the Cup to date.
But the surprise of the night was Sampaio. The 30-year-old support player opened the scoring with two goals that dismantled Chile, relaxed his teammates and tied him with Ronaldo for team scoring honors with three.
"He was perfect," said Brazilian coach Mario Zagallo. "Everything, not just the goals. Defense. He was complete."
Brazil looked tense and cautious at first on the rain-slicked field at Parc des Princes Stadium. Still smarting from a 2-1 loss to Norway earlier in the week, they were not about to get stung by twin threats Salas and Ivan Zamorano.
But in the 11th minute, a foul on Rivaldo set up a free kick on the left side. Dunga curled his shot toward the goal box, and Cesar Sampaio broke in unchallenged for the header to make it 1-0.
Chile was without three starters, suspended with two yellow cards in the first round. And the vaunted front line of Salas and Zamorano had little success against Brazil's double coverage.
On a foul by Javier Margas in the 27th minute, Brazil made Chile pay. Roberto Carlos sent a long free kick that bounced off the defense, caromed off Bebeto and found Cesar Sampaio. His shot caught goalie Nelson Tapia on his off-foot and found the left corner for a 2-0 lead.
With Chile's defense keying on Ronaldo, the two-time world player of the year had trouble staying on his feet. But in injury time, Leonardo sent Ronaldo in up the middle, and Tapia dived to smother the ball at his feet. Ronaldo went over, and French referee Marc Batta whistled a penalty. Ronaldo took the shot and it was 3-0 at halftime.
"We started nervous," said Zagallo. "We were lucky to get a goal by Cesar Sampaio and this gave morale to the team. Then, in the second half, we played our best football of the Cup."
Zamorano called the loss "the end of a dream, not of a nightmare."
ITALY 1, NORWAY 0: Italy has the top scorer in the World Cup and a berth in the quarterfinals. What it lacks is the respect of the coach it beat to get there.
Christian Vieri, hot as the sunbaked afternoon by the Mediterranean, scored the game's only goal and his fifth of the tournament for a 1-0 victory over Norway Saturday.
Italy's defenders choked off Norway's dangerous high-ball attacks and eliminated the Scandinavian team with its first loss in 18 games.
That didn't mean that Egil Olsen was about to praise the winners. The Norwegian coach said he had seen better than the Blues.
"I was not impressed by Italy," Olsen said. "Our performance was too low today. We were unable to take advantage of good chances in the second part of the second half, when Italy was visibly tired."
The heat may have weakened both teams. Temperatures were in the upper 80s and public-address announcements warned fans to drink plenty of water.
"It affected our team, and I think it got to Italy, too," Olsen said.
Vieri, who developed his soccer talents while growing up in Australia, scored on a classic counterattack in the 18th minute.
Midfielder Luigi Di Biagio sent a long pass and Vieri outraced defender Dan Eggen, driving a right-footed shot past goalie Frode Grodas.
The 24-year-old Vieri, who had only two goals in eight career appearances for Italy before the World Cup, moved ahead of Argentina's Gabriel Batistuta as the tournament's leading scorer.
Italian coach Cesare Maldini said his team was pressed in the last 25 minutes as the Norwegians tried for a tie, which would have sent the game into sudden-death overtime.