Brazil wins pretty; Germany just wins

Friday, June 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) _ Style is for Brazil. The Germans just want to win.

For them, beautiful soccer is a 1-0 victory _ even on a penalty kick. After all, that's how they came away with their last World Cup title in 1990.

``We have to play with a lot of order and discipline,'' Germany coach Rudi Voeller said as his team prepared for Sunday's World Cup final.

Brazil is a 2-5 favorite to win the first soccer championship held in Asia, and Germany is a 7-4 underdog, according to the London bookmaker, William Hill.

The Brazilians are seeking their record fifth title eight years after winning their last one, an ugly victory on penalty kicks against Italy following a scoreless tie at the Rose Bowl.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari called three-time champion Germany ``cold and calculating,'' and said he wants his team to pick up some of those habits, a sign this game could become another defensive struggle.

``I want Brazil to match Germany in determination,'' he said. ``Then the players will make the difference.''

While Brazilians consider soccer an art form _ as if there should be a museum dedicated to the preservation of 1-on-1 moves and hip fakes _ Germany views it more as an opportunity to fill up trophy cases back home.

The first two World Cup finals of the 1990s were dull and defensive. France's 3-0 win over Brazil in 1998 was the first World Cup final since 1986 in which more than one goal was scored.

West Germany won its third title in 1990, beating Argentina 1-0 at Rome's Olympic Stadium on Andreas Brehme's 84th-minute penalty kick. The penalty was awarded after Robert Sensini pulled down Voeller in the penalty area.

The Germans will play for another shutout this time around. Goalkeeper Oliver Kahn has five of them in this tournament alone, the only goal scored on him coming moments before the final whistle of a first-round tie against Ireland.

``Undoubtedly Kahn is the best goalie in the World Cup and will be the main obstacle for Brazil,'' Brazilian forward Rivaldo said.

His goalkeeper, Marcos, has three shutouts, allowing four goals in six games. The Brazilian defenders have struggled at times, allowing two goals to Costa Rica, and the Germans would like to exploit that _ but only at the right time.

``We have to create our chances, but we have to be careful not to open too much,'' Voeller said Friday. ``They have so much individual class, each of their players can do something unexpected.''

Germany, in the final for the first time since its 1990 title, is as confident as it has been in years. That's quite a turnaround from two years go, when the Germans were eliminated in the first round of the European Championship.

``It will be ... very difficult for Brazil to beat us,'' Germany's Carsten Ramelow said. ``We've only allowed one goal and we'd like it to remain that way.''

The Brazilians, too, are peaking. They've gone 6-0 in the tournament after struggling to a 9-6-3 record in qualifying.

Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo all seem to be in top form, creating giant expectations from a Brazilian soccer public that was disenchanted just a few months earlier.

``Nobody would have thought that these two teams would make the final,'' former Brazilian great Pele said. ``However, for me, the two strongest teams are here. This will be a matchup of attackers versus the defense.''

Brazil, of course, would accept an ugly victory, but the players would hear about it from the soccer experts back home.

Then again, even if they win with that old flair, it will stop the criticism only for a few months. In the minds of the fans, the old teams of Pele's era will always be viewed as better.

``If we win the title, there will be three months of euphoria, and then the demands will start again,'' forward Denilson said. ``That's just the way it is.''