Everyone expected Ronaldinho to chip the ball into the middle - but instead his curling cross-shot fooled Seaman and somehow found the top corner of the net.
Just as their early lead began to seem a distant memory, England were handed a lifeline - thanks to an over-officious referee.
Ronaldinho left his foot in on a tackle on Danny Mills - but rather than give him the booking the foul deserved, referee Felipe Ramos Rizo pulled out his red card.
This was England's big chance to atone for their poor concentration either side of the interval.
But they utterly failed to make the most of their advantage as a series of aimless attacks disappeared up blind alleys.
Brazil were content to coast into the last four - and they will have been surprised at how easy England made it for them.
England: Seaman, Mills, Campbell, Ferdinand,
Ashley Cole (Sheringham 79), Beckham, Scholes, Butt,
Sinclair (Dyer 56), Owen (Vassell 79), Heskey.
Subs Not Used: Bridge, Brown, Joe Cole, Fowler, Hargreaves,
James, Keown, Martyn, Southgate.
Booked: Scholes, Ferdinand.
Brazil: Marcos, Roque Junior, Lucio, Edmilson, Cafu, Gilberto,
Ronaldinho, Kleberson, Carlos, Ronaldo (Edilson 70), Rivaldo.
Subs Not Used: Belleti, Ceni, Denilson, Dida, Juninho Paulista,
Junior, Kaka, Luizao, Polga, Ricardinho, Vampeta.
Sent Off: Ronaldinho (58).
Referee: F Ramos Rizo (Mexico).