Vol. 5 Num 171 Fri. November 12, 2004  

Farewell Romario

Romario scored both goals as Brazil's 1994 World Cup winning team beat their Mexican contemporaries 2-1 in Los Angeles on Wednesday in a match billed as the "Grand Farewell" to the famed striker.

The Brazilian stabbed home a cross from Aldair in the 61st minute and drove home the winner after a powerful run into the box in the 86th minute in a match which also gave 52,389 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum the chance to say farewell to popular Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos.

Romario, who is 38 and currently without a club, told reporters he still considered himself fit enough to play for a couple more years.

Last month Romario was kicked out by his Brazilian club Fluminense after a series of fitness problems and clashes with his coaches. There was been widespread speculation he might rejoin neighbors Vasco da Gama where he began his career.

Brazil's team included nine members of the side which started the 1994 World Cup final against Italy at Pasadena's Rose Bowl, 15 miles north-east of the Coliseum.

Mexico, however, whose 1994 campaign in the round of 16 following a penalty shoot-out loss to Bulgaria, took control of the game in the first half.

They took the lead after 13 minutes when a pass from Joaquin Del Olmo left Luis Alves "Zague" clean through.

Campos, famous for wearing outrageous luminous kits and occasionally featuring as a striker, kept a clean sheet in the first half but the second half, in which Campos played as a forward, was dominated by Brazil.

Romario was substituted shortly after scoring the winner and the game stopped for several minutes as he made a lap of honor around the ground and fireworks filled the sky.

Campos, who is also 38 and is now an assistant coach with the Mexican national team, was substituted a couple of minutes after the game resumed, prompting more fireworks as he made his lap of honor.

Campos was also Mexico's goalkeeper in the 1998 World Cup and was in the World Cup squad in 2002.

ONCE A KING ALWAYS A KING: Romario is lifted up by teammates during the "La Gran Despedida" (The Grand Farewell) match between Mexico and Brazil's 1994 World Cup winning team at the Los Angeles Coliseum on November 10. The match marked the international retirement of Romario and Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos. PHOTO: AFP