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June 01, 2006

Ronnie warns of Australian Power

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Ronaldinho thinks that Australia has the power to defeat Brazil at their own game when the two teams meet in groupF in Munich on June 18.

In fact, at the time the Brazilian joined Barcelona three seasons ago he thought he was signing for a team which would be coached by Socceroos maestro Guus Hiddink, and Ronaldinho believes the Dutchman is in the process of converting Australia into the neutral supporter's "other" favourite team.

IT's very well known that Brazil have long enjoyed the position of being loved by everyone in the world apart from Argentina, but Ronaldinho thinks that the remarkable Australian qualifying story has begun to push Hiddink's squad into the hearts and minds of neutrals everywhere.

"Even though Australia looks a formidable team and they are our key group rivals, I must admit that I'm fascinated by them from a purely personal point of view," FIFA's world player of the year told the Herald. "Apart from appointing one of the top four or five managers in the football world, what Australia did when they signed Hiddink was drag world attention onto themselves.

"Anybody who knows about football understands that Hiddink is a magnificent achiever and someone whose names stand for perpetual success. So I think that focused people's attention, all around the world, on how Australia might do in qualifying.

"Then if you take the drama and the romanticism of the victory over Uruguay it seems to me that Australia has become an easy team for the neutrals to support. Everyone I speak to seems to have a good word for Australia in a sporting sense and lots of decent judges have identified them as a side which could make a surprising impact in this World Cup."