RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The tall gangly figure of Serginho is blamed by many Brazilians for the failure of their sublime side to win the 1982 World Cup. Today's No. 9 in the Brazil shirt, Fred, looked to be following in Serginho's footsteps until he finally found the net after 228 tournament minutes without a goal in a 4-1 victory over Cameroon.
With Fred having only scored once before for Brazil in the previous 12 months, the Fluminense striker is bound to remain under scrutiny — despite being the joint top-scorer at the 2013 Confederations Cup with five goals. His next chance should come in Saturday's last 16 match against Chile. The No. 10 shirt may be the most fabled in Brazilian football, thanks to the likes of Pele, Zico and now Neymar, but in the nation of the five-time World Cup winners you also have to be pretty special to wear the No. 9.
Five of Brazil's best-known No. 9s:
Three-time World Player of the Year, double World Cup winner and current leading World Cup scorer of all-time, Ronaldo has few rivals to the title of greatest World Cup No. 9. A non-playing member of the 1994 World Cup winning squad, the man from Rio de Janeiro was named the player of the tournament as Brazil reached the final in 1998. Four years later, he led his countrymen to their fifth World Cup trophy, claiming the Golden Boot in the process. A final international tally of 62 goals in 98 matches placed him second behind Pele in the list of Brazil's all-time record goal scorers.
Despite being a central midfielder by trade and being limited by a self-confessed lack of pace, an almost unusable right foot and a distaste for heading the ball, the 1970 World Cup No. 9 Tostao sets a similarly imposing standard. The vision and passing ability of the 5ft 7.5 inch Brazilian allowed him to shine in a team containing Pele, Jairzinho and Rivelino. He scored twice as Brazil won the 1970 World Cup in one what is widely regarded as the best footballing performance by a team at any tournament.