Brazil 4 New Zealand 0: Ronaldo kick-starts Brazilian crackdown on Kiwis

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The Independent Football

Ronaldo, Adriano and Kaka each scored last night to help Brazil defeat New Zealand 4-0 in its last World Cup warm-up match before flying to Germany to defend its title.

Brazil, which also scored in injury time through substitute Juninho, will begin its quest for a record sixth World Cup title against Croatia on June 13 in Berlin.

Playing with its World Cup starters for most of the match, Brazil dominated in front of nearly 30,000 fans at the packed Stade de Geneve.

"It was a good test," Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said. "I'm satisfied with (the score) and with all the opportunities that we were able to create, we had more than 20 shots on goal."

Ronaldo put Brazil ahead in the 42nd minute with a shot from near the penalty spot. He took a pass from Kaka, who beat a defender on the right flank before cutting back a low pass into the area.

Adriano added to the lead in the 50th with a left-footer from the edge of the area, firing into the corner past New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss.

Kaka scored on the counterattack in the 85th, beating a defender with sheer pace and sending a low shot past Moss, and Juninho - who replaced Ze Roberto - completed the scoring in second-half injury time with a right-footed shot from inside the area.

The Brazilians created several scoring opportunities throughout the match, including from defenders Juan, Cafu and Roberto Carlos. World player of the year Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano - who make up Brazil's "magic quartet" along with Ronaldo - each had at least one chance.

"You can't do much against the best offensive players in the world," New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert said.

Ronaldo, playing in his 99th match with Brazil, nearly scored on a breakaway in the 44th, but his chip over Moss struck the far post.

Ronaldo was substituted at halftime by Real Madrid teammate Robinho because of blisters on his feet. Parreira said it wasn't a serious injury, but doctors suggested pulling him out to keep the problem from aggravating.

"I changed cleats and tried adding protection to my feet, but it wasn't working," Ronaldo said.

Defender Lucio scored with a header in the 90th but the goal was disallowed because of offside.

New Zealand's only real chances came with a first-half header by midfielder Chris Killen, and a 47th-minute blocked shot by striker Vaughan Coveny.

"Of course it will be different during the World Cup, but we made good use of these friendlies," midfielder Emerson said. "It was a good start."

Brazil, heavily favored to win the World Cup starting Friday, was coming off an 8-0 rout of Swiss club FC Lucerne on Tuesday in Basel, Switzerland. It also trashed Fluminense's under-20 squad 13-1 in a practice match a week ago.

The Brazilians spent two weeks preparing for the World Cup in Weggis, central Switzerland. The team flew Sunday to the German city of Koenigstein, in the wooded Taunus hills outside Frankfurt, where it will be based during the group stage.

It was Brazil's third victory in as many matches against New Zealand. It had won 4-0 in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, and 2-0 in the 1999 Confederations Cup in Mexico.

Ranked 118th, New Zealand was third in the Oceania World Cup qualifying, behind Solomon Islands and Australia, which will be one of Brazil's opponents in the first round.

New Zealand, which did not qualify for the World Cup, was coming off a 1-1 draw against Estonia and a 3-1 win over Georgia.

Parreira has said since the start of the team's preparation that it isn't at a disadvantage by facing weaker opponents. He said he wants to worry only about his squad's development before the opener on June 13.

"I don't care about the quality of our adversaries," Parreira said Sunday. "I care about the performance of my team. Of course we will have to step up during the World Cup."

After debuting against Croatia in Group F, Brazil will face Australia on June 18 in Munich and Japan on June 22 in Dortmund.