Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brazil-Germany a Cup First

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brazil-Germany a Cup First

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel and Nick Marino, Times-Union staff writers

At last, the upside-down World Cup has seen order restored: It's Brazil vs. Germany in the final.

Though one of these teams always seems to reach the final, Germany and Brazil have never squared off in a World Cup game. At 7 a.m. tomorrow, they'll get acquainted for the first time in Cup history, with the championship of the world's most popular sport in the balance.

The Germans and Brazilians couldn't play more different styles of soccer, which should make for an interesting war of wills -- and a terrific matchup between Brazil striker Ronaldo and German super-'keeper Oliver Kahn.

The disciplined Germans will want to control the ball and serve the occasional cross to the head of Miroslav Klose.

The fast and flashy Brazilians will want to keep pouring in shots. Ronaldo is on a goal-a-game pace, but he's not the only dangerous Brazilian.

Brazil may have the tournament's most exciting playmaker in Rivaldo, a surprisingly strong defense and perhaps the world's best player in Roberto Carlos, a steely leader who seems to be in on every play.

And back from suspension will be midfielder Ronaldinho, who Pele praised in a recent interview for typifying Brazilian soccer creativity. Ronaldinho returns as German leader Michael Ballack exits due to a second yellow card against Korea.

Ballack called missing the final "the bitterest thing that can happen to a football player." His absence will hurt. Ballack scored Germany's only goals in their last two games, and whoever takes his place -- Jens Jeremies is the rumored choice -- cannot hope to take over his role.

If Brazil can exploit Ballack's absence and keep the rest of the Germans out of the air, the game should come to them.

Though it will not be easy to get past Kahn, Brazil should win. All is not lost for Germany -- it'll get another chance at glory when it plays host to the World Cup in 2006.

See you then.

The best and worst of an entertaining Cup:

-- Best Field Player -- Brazil's Carlos, whose unflagging determination glued the supposedly fractured Brazilian squad together. …

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