DORTMUND, June 28 (Reuters): While Ronaldo has once again been hogging the headlines, Brazil's much-criticised defence has done most of the hard work on the team's run to quarter-finals.
The world champions have conceded only one goal in their four matches with central defenders Lucio and Juan and goalkeeper Dida acknowledged as their top players in Tuesday's 3-0 win over Ghana.
It was an an odd match in which Ghana enjoyed more possession, yet Brazil could have won by even more goals if they had taken their chances.
Brazil took a fifth-minute lead through Ronaldo but Ghana dominated the rest of the first half before again getting hit on the counter-attack in first-half injury-time as Adriano made it 2-0.
Ze Roberto added a third late in the game.
"Dida was Brazil's best player," wrote 1970 forward Tostao in his newspaper column. "The supporting actors Lucio and Juan were once again better than the stars, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Ronaldo."
Dida made at least three top-class saves to keep Ghana at bay while Lucio and Juan had their work cut out as the West Africans repeatedly found their way through the middle of the Brazilian midfield, especially in the first half.
But with their goal intact, Brazil were able ruthlessly to hit Ghana on the counter-attack.
Lucio, in particular, has had an excellent tournament so far. Remarkably, he has gone through Brazil's first four matches without committing a foul, emulating the feat of Paraguay defender Carlos Gamarra at the 1998 World Cup.
On Tuesday, he even found time to set up Brazil's crucial second goal -- scored when Ghana were threatening an equaliser -- with a powerful run out of defence to the halfway line.
"I just want to continue defending well -- like any defender I know that at some stage I'm going to commit a foul," Lucio told reporters afterwards.
"Our target is to help each other and keep concentrating for the 90 minutes."
It is an interesting turnaround for a player who in the past has appeared to struggle to keep his aggression under control.
Lucio, who played in the 2002-World Cup winning side, was involved in an infamous incident during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney where he punched team mate Roger.
He was also the last Brazilian player to be dismissed when he was sent off in the 4-1 win over Paraguay last June.