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Brazil waltzes into quarters

Tue., June 29, 2010, midnight

Brazil’s Robinho, left, celebrates with Kaka after goal. (Associated Press)
Brazil’s Robinho, left, celebrates with Kaka after goal. (Associated Press)

Familiar spot for five-time champions

JOHANNESBURG — As Brazil was dismantling Chile, a couple of fans delighted the crowd by parading around the stadium with two giant gold replicas of the World Cup trophy.

Another three games like this and Brazil could be hoisting the real thing — yet again.

With an impressive mixture of symphony-like teamwork and standout individual plays, Brazil routed South American rival Chile 3-0 on Monday night to advance to the quarterfinals. The five-time champions will face the Netherlands, which earlier Monday defeated Slovakia 2-1, on Friday.

“Now it’s a match between two traditional teams with great players,” Brazil captain Lucio said. “Now the matches will get harder and harder.”

Brazil’s players were almost nonchalant after the victory as they shook hands and exchanged hugs. Who can blame them: reaching the later stages may as well be part of Brazil’s World Cup itinerary.

Brazil has now reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup every time since the 1990 tournament in Italy, when it fell 1-0 to Diego Maradona’s Argentina in the second round. Brazil coach Dunga and assistant coach Jorginho were starters in that Brazilian team.

The Brazilians won the 1994 and 2002 World Cups in that span.

“I’m happy with how we played,” said Kaka, who assisted on a goal by Luis Fabiano. Robinho and Juan also scored. “It shows that we are improving after each match, just as planned.”

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