PARIS -- Ivan Zamorano, the Chilean striker, had a dream recently about these World Cup finals. Chile would play Brazil; Chile would win, 1-0.
Zamorano's subconscious did get one thing right about yesterday's second-round game at the Parc des Princes: Chile scored a goal. The problem was that Brazil scored four, and easily could have scored more.
Not much went wrong for the defending champions on a cool, intermittently rainy evening. After losing to Norway on Tuesday in a game that mattered mostly to the Norwegians, the Brazilians started slowly, hearing jeers from their fans throughout the first 10 minutes, and then gradually acquired ramming speed, confidence and plenty of space to show off their remarkable individual skills.
"Brazil found a good way of playing: the way Brazil likes to play," said coach Mario Zagallo, whose team will face either Nigeria or Denmark in the quarterfinals.
Ronaldo, the striker who was more effective as a decoy than a scorer in Brazil's first three games, scored twice. More surprising, so did his less celebrated roommate, Cesar Sampaio, a defensive midfielder whose usual role is to make life difficult for opposing strikers.
Despite sitting out against the Norwegians, Sampaio now has as many goals (three) in this tournament as Ronaldo, but nowhere near as many endorsements or hangers-on. Sampaio played in the Japanese first division last season but is expected to return to Brazil and play for Palmeiras next season.
In the 11th minute yesterday, Sampaio slipped through the Chilean defense -- not a Herculean task -- and headed home a long free kick from Dunga without having to worry about out-jumping a fullback. That was because nobody bothered to mark him.
In the 27th minute, Sampaio scored again off a set piece. His teammate Roberto Carlos, who has one of the sport's most powerful left legs, blasted a free kick toward the Chilean wall. The ball ricocheted off the Brazilian Rivaldo to Bebeto, who passed it to Sampaio, who placed it perfectly into the lower left corner of the goal with his right foot.
During the second minute of injury time in the first half, Ronaldo was brought down in the penalty box by goalkeeper Nelson Tapia. He converted the ensuing penalty kick to give Brazil a 3-0 halftime lead. Marcelo Salas cut that lead to 3-1 in the 68th minute with a header, his fourth goal of the tournament, but two minutes later, Ronaldo scored again off a fine pass from the late dTC substitute Denilson. Ronaldo nearly scored twice more in the second half.
"Ronaldo played better than in the other matches, but he can still give a lot more," said Zagallo.
The Chileans -- who have not won a match in the World Cup since 1962, but who rallied to tie in each of their three first-round games -- were short three key midfielders. Francisco Rojas, Moises Villaroel and Nelson Parraguez had to miss the game because of yellow cards received in the first round. Coach Nelson Acosta clearly lacks depth, and the Chileans were only able to control the flow of play in the opening minutes. "After they scored, things got difficult for us in a hurry," Zamorano said.
Yesterday's results: Italy 1, Norway 0 Brazil 4, Chile 1
Stars of the day: Christian Vieri took the World Cup scoring lead with his fifth goal, the lone score in Italy's victory. Ronaldo, the two-time World Player of the Year, scored two goals, one on a penalty kick, and also hit the goal post and crossbar, in Brazil's romp.
Footnote: Italy's victory ended a 17-match unbeaten streak for Norway. That run was highlighted by two victories over defending champion Brazil, including a 2-1 win last week that qualified the Norwegians for the second round.
Suspension: Mexico's Ramon Ramirez, who received a red card late in the 2-2 tie with the Netherlands that clinched his team's spot in the second round, was suspended for two games. If Mexico beats Germany in the round of 16, he would be ineligible for the quarterfinals.
Offense: Despite efforts to open up the attack, scoring was down slightly in the first round of the World Cup from four years ago. FIFA said the first 48 games produced 126 goals, an average of 2.63 a match. In 1994, the first round -- with 36 games -- had a 2.71-goals-per-game average.
Look ahead: Today in Saint-Denis, Nigeria faces a Denmark team that hasn't showed much offensively, although it has dangerous attackers in Michael and Brian Laudrup. But Nigeria's speed and creativity could be too much for the staid Danes to handle.
In today's other game, host France faces Paraguay, the most surprising of second-round qualifiers, in Lens. The French still have some key injuries, but also have gotten superb performances from their substitutes. And 20-year-old forwards Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet have been formidable.
Quotable: "This violence is not of football, it is of society as a whole. These people use the World Cup as a launching pad." -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter on the violence and hooliganism that has surrounded the World Cup.
Pub Date: 6/28/98