Five-star Brazil crush Kiwis
© AFP

Ronaldinho bagged a brace as Brazil turned on the style against New Zealand, firing five unanswered goals to book their place in the quarter-finals with a game to spare.

The Auriverde captain, subdued in his team's opener against Belgium, was back to his old self in a one-sided encounter dominated by the favourites from start to finish. With New Zealand affording their illustrious opponents a little too much respect, the tone was set as early as the third minute, when Brazil sliced through the Kiwi rearguard to break the deadlock.

Alexandre Pato, another who disappointed against Belgium, slipped an incisive pass through to Anderson in the box, who took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score at the second attempt after his initial effort had been blocked.

Making the breakthrough so early allowed Brazil to relax and find their stride and, in 34 minutes, they doubled their tally, Ronaldinho and Marcelo combining well before the latter sought out Pato with a perfect cross that was matched by an equally accomplished headed finish.

With New Zealand unable to make any inroads at the other end, Ronaldinho - who had erstwhile taken on the role of supporting actor - duly stepped up to become the star of the show in the second half, curling home a well-executed free-kick just eight minutes after the restart.

That delighted the Chinese crowd, to whom the AC Milan forward is arguably the Olympic Football Tournament's star attraction, and seven minutes later he had the crowd cheering again when he converted a penalty he had earned himself by luring Sam Jenkins into the foul.

Huge celebrations with the substitutes behind the goal ensued and, with New Zealand tiring, having spent much of the match chasing shadows, it was no real surprise when a fifth goal was added in stoppage time, Rafael Sobis slotting home following a clever pass from Lucas.