Adriano rises to the occasion
Unusually quiet of late, Adriano put all the frustration of the games against Mexico and Japan behind him on Saturday with 90 minutes of frightening quality. Combining power and clinical finishing, the Brazil striker sent his team through to the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 final, while crushing Germany's dreams of lifting the trophy in front of their own fans.
The Inter Milan forward kicked off his tournament in style, firing in a laser-guided missile of a shot against Greece that got the ball rolling in the world champions' opening encounter. That early success quickly evaporated, however, as the Mexican and Japanese defences gave him little chance to let his talents shine. So it was with a burning desire to prove his worth that Adriano went into the semi-final showdown with Germany.
And once again he was the catalyst for the Seleção's victory and a thorn in the Mannschaft defence right up until the final whistle. His first telling contribution came in the 21st minute from one of his favourite sources a direct free-kick. Some 25 metres out from Jens Lehmann's goal, the southpaw sent in a vicious effort that darted into the net after taking a slight deflection.
Act two was served up on 43 minutes, as the Brazil ace burst menacingly into the area and raced past Robert Huth, who brought him down. Ronaldinho did the rest from the spot, but Adriano had not had his final say just yet. Rounding off the scoring and sealing the win for his side, he unleashed a left-footed shot that skimmed along the ground and into the far corner with 14 minutes left to play.
His performance in the first semi-final of the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005 earned him the Anheuser Busch Man of the Match award, as decided by FIFA's Technical Study Group. And he will no doubt be hoping to repeat his exploits in Wednesday's final in Frankfurt. But, given the choice, the verdeamarelho forward would surely trade in another thrilling individual display to be part of a Brazilian triumph.