June 26, 2002

So: Will it be Brazil or will it be Germany? : It's already being billed here in Portugal as a battle between South America and Middle Europe, between Catholicism and Protestantism; between Joie-de-vivre and Robotics; between the Third World and Globalization. Perhaps it's just a football game, though...

posted by Miguel Cardoso to soccer at 08:37 AM - 26 comments

Tough call; Brasile is fast and flashy with a very talented offence. Germany always gives me the impression of slower, more methodical play, and they have that tendancy to score the winning goal from out of the blue at the lastpossiblemoment. Seeing as Germany will be 2006 hosts, it would be nice if they were defending champs on home turf, just to add some more spice to the mix. Either way, there's no way in hell I'm missing out on 2006. Too close to home :D Seeing as the previous possibility of a Turkey-Germany finale was beginning to be hyped along the inflamitory lines of "Turkish squad ready to take on squad of racists," I can't wait to see what the Italian hype machine comes up with for this finale; probably something along the same lines as what Miguel wrote.

posted by romakimmy at 08:58 AM on June 26, 2002

Who would've thought that a World Cup final between Brazil and Germany would be something to dread... The final in '90 was horrible, the one in '94 even worse, I thought '98 (which was an excellent game no matter how you look at it) had broken the rut but I think this one will break new ground for terrible. The two most mindnumbingly boring teams in the competition face each other in the final. Oh well, there really hasn't been a pretty game on offer since the second round. I just hope that Korea v Turkey will be good. And I don't see Brazil playing with any joie-de-vivre, they're just as robotic as the Germans... win the ball in defense, a run upfield followed by one or two passes, usually at Ronaldo/Neuville, who then shoots at the goal. A game between two teams with that kind of game-plan just doesn't excite me. I'm actually kinda sad that I've never really gotten to see a really great Brazilian side. I didn't start watching the World Cup until '90, which was samba-football's last outing... but after they got knocked out by Argentina in the second round they've switched to a very germanic football... not that it hasn't gotten them results, three finals in three consecutive World Cups, it's just so awfully painful to watch. Not as painful though as to hear some people ramble on about how beautifully they play. When you get right down to it Brazil are the Germany of today. They're boring, but get results. Oh and besides, they never really play much as a team. They don't build up offenses, or pass the ball between them stretching out the opposition before a lethal pass. They just hack it accurately forward and hope one of their forwards score a goal... the same can be said of Germany by the way.

posted by Kattullus at 09:12 AM on June 26, 2002

Brazil! Brazil! Brazil! I hope they prove you wrong, Kattullus (and give you a wonderful game) and score tons of goals on the Germans. Show us some real samba soccer!

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:40 AM on June 26, 2002

Who would've thought that a World Cup final between Brazil and Germany would be something to dread... I don't necessarily agree: and there's no precedent in 70-odd years of World Cups for anyone to judge what a competitive Germany-Brazil match would look like. (Something which, I'm sure, surprised not just me.) We've had Germany-Argentina, and Italy-Brazil, but that's not like with like. As a good mate said, while Argentine teams have always feared losing more than desiring victory, Brazilian teams have tended to value 'getting to the next match'. Anyway, here's to a glorious, though competitive, Brazil win, and the exorcism of Ronaldo's ghosts. And we get to see Jar-Jar Ronaldinho again... and Big Phil had better play Juninho, even if he's only on the bench.

posted by etagloh at 09:48 AM on June 26, 2002

Granted Brazil aren't the poets of some previous years, but they are still an attacking team who create several good chances a game. I don't think the cliche of "o jogo bonito" vs. teutonic efficiency is true anymore (though I want to believe it). Neither squad has a great defence, so the game may not be so boring. The south of Brazil has a very large, and largely unassimilated, German community, who will presumably be rooting for the motherland. On a personal note, I'm the Brazilian son of jewish refugees from Germany, so this is my heritage final.

posted by liam at 10:04 AM on June 26, 2002

But you'd have to agree, etagloh, that Brazil haven't exactly played attractively so far. And that this German team doesn't exactly bring up memories of Klinsmann's squad, or Beckenbauer's for that matter. It's not really a compliment to their attack that their best man in the tournament has been their goalkepper Marcos (much as in '94, where Taffarel saved their asses time after time). Worldcup: Brazil won't show us samba-futebol because they made the deliberate decision to drop it. Mario Zagallo (the coach of the '94 team) said simply that the samba beat wasn't appropriate for the modern game. I don't think he was right, if they would have the talent to play that kind of game they could get away with it, but they simply don't. Liam: Well... most of the chances they create are sort of half-chances. Y'know, some guy has ball in the penalty area but is surrounded by 58 defenders. And the shots are usually not very good. Ronaldo, however, scores often enough from these things so that they get away with it. Mostly he does that because defenders don't seem to want to have a go at him. His goal came because of that. If I had to bet on the game I'd bet on Germany... because Kahn would've managed to push the Ronaldo goal away. Not that Rustu isn't excellent. But then again, they'll be without Ballack. But I suspect that it will go 1-0 to Germany with a goal scored from after a corner or a free kick.

posted by Kattullus at 10:23 AM on June 26, 2002

goal scored after a corner, not from after...

posted by Kattullus at 10:26 AM on June 26, 2002

Actually Katullus I think many chances have been fairly clear cut, at least by World Cup standards, but the Brazilian finishing has been poor. Two that immediately spring to mind from the Turkey game are Cafu's dawdling failure to finish the recreation of Carlos Alberto's 1970 final goal, and Luizinho's funky but unnecessary bicycle kick. Brazil's longer range shooting has certainly been lame.

posted by liam at 10:34 AM on June 26, 2002

Perhaps it's just a football game, though... Perhaps its only a metaphor for the relationship between life and culture, body and soul... Or perhaps its only a reason to drum, drink, and dance..

posted by liam at 10:40 AM on June 26, 2002

/OT boy, there's some pretty ... risque pictures up on the official world cup site. Those crazy brazilians.

posted by jnthnjng at 10:57 AM on June 26, 2002

I think the thing that most gets to me is the way the media handles Brazil. Most of the journalists grew up in the golden age of Pelé and seem unable to see Brazil as anything else than that squad. Case in point is Marcotti's newest column on cnnsi.com. He says that Brazil have been the most exciting side to watch this tournament, which is just complete nonsense. Senegal, to name just one side, have been oodles more exciting (except in the Turkey game, where they seemingly lost the nerve to play their "fearless football"). Argentina, in the last twenty minutes of the Sweden game, were more exciting than the Brazilian team has been in all their games put together. France, for those fifteen minutes against Denmark were they managed to find their rhythm, were beautiful to watch. The oooh-Brazil-attitude annoys me (which I then vent by coming here to rant ;) ). Also, is it me, or could whatever world champion from say... 1982 onward, beat whichever team win this time around? And no, it's not just a football game. It's the football game. Except perhaps for having set foot on the Moon, there is nothing that gives you similar bragging rights as having won a world cup final. Hell, that's just for the supporters, you'd have to be Neil Armstrong himself to have bragging rights in excess of Zidane, Maradona, Pelé or Muller, to name a few. Winning a Nobel prize maybe gives you similar bragging rights, but just maybe. And only if you win it solo :)

posted by Kattullus at 11:05 AM on June 26, 2002

I'm up for the Germans winning it, becuase then I can hark back to the spirit of Munich and say that a fair result for England in the QF would have been: Germany's Score+5 - Brazil's score +1. Excellent.

posted by nedrichards at 11:24 AM on June 26, 2002

Any chance of a Brazilianbabe filter?

posted by Fat Buddha at 11:53 AM on June 26, 2002

Brazil 2-Germany 1. (But the true star will be Collina.) I'm curious -what do the Portuguese think about their former colony always in the glorious spotlight ?

posted by Voyageman at 11:55 AM on June 26, 2002

Germany will win if Kahn comes up with another great performance. For me, he's really been their Man of the Match, every match. It comes down to him really. Also, Germany have good enough strikers to put Brazil away. Brazil's defense is suspect and Klose can finish well. That said, Brazil may have a field day running against the slower German defense. I think it will be a classic final. My prediction: Germany 3-2 Golden Goal.

posted by kafkaesque at 12:00 PM on June 26, 2002

jnthnjng: You made my day. And kudos to Reuters -- makes me wonder what else they have in their photo archives. They could make a fortune... Kattullus: I agree that Senegal would've been a more exciting proposition than Brazil this World Cup, but they didn't make it. Brazil has, in the past, played beautiful soccer yet faltered at key stages. Their new strategy has brought a measure of steel into their play and made it, shall we say, more successful. And, Brazil's still scoring goals (Costa Rica 5-3, with Edmilson's bicycle kick to top it off was fun if there ever was one) and managing to excite with their play. Ronaldinho, crazy hair and all, is a magician with the ball. His one contribution in the England match was all that was needed to set the two countries apart. Altho, I do have to admit Brazil plays more of a "boot it up to the wizards in attack and see what they can make of it" approach rather than an "all our team are wizards and we score after stringing together a combo of lightning one-touch passes" approach. I'm not sure if it's the players or the approach that came first, but their midfield is kind of anonymous (unless you count Ronaldinho, who's kind of an attacker, no?). Great attackers and defenders (Cafu and Roberto "Rocket" Carlos) but nobody to match the likes of Zico, etc. So, consequently no build up. Players or approach? Chicken or egg?

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:02 PM on June 26, 2002

worldcup: Well... the Costa Rican game was special in a spot-the-defender* type of way. And I agree, Ronaldinho is definitely one of the top hundred players in the world (so is Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Juninho, when they are playing as well as they should be, which they haven't done in quite a while). But really, the Brazilian attack hasn't really impressed me as greatly as certain journalists tell me I should be. They manage to put one goal or two in every game but haven't really done anything to amaze me so far (Costa Rica game excepted, but it's easy to look good when no one is trying to stop you). It seems to me that they've coasted to the finals on the fact that most people think they're superhuman. Much as they did in '98. I think that Germany might win if only because they're not really given to think that other people are superhuman, but who knows, they might become as blinded by the yellow jerseys as the ref in the Belgium match. (Ref: Sorry Wilmots, the goal is disallowed. Wilmots: What? Why? Ref: Section 94, subsection 28 of the offical FIFA rule book forbids opposing teams from scoring against Brazil. Wilmots: You just made that up didn't you? Ref: Look! Bird! [ref runs away blowing whistle]) Oh, and the England game... what the hell happened to England in that game? They went all "what, Brazil is winning. That's not very nice of them. Oh well, what can you do... look at all these beautiful flowers in the center circle. I think I'll simply stop playing and make a wreath". Jesus Christ! And bloody David Beckham looked like he made a bet with Rivaldo about who could "simulate" more during the game (though, to be fair, Rivaldo won that bet easily). But there are Brazilian players which have impressed me. Cafu has been good when he has bothered to stay in defence. He's not really an attacker no matter how much he wants to. And Silva has been great. He's the only reason they have never been overwhelmed in midfield. Carlos, however has been truly uninspiring. Excepting his one free-kick goal he hasn't done anything to warrant his reputation. And Marcos as well, he's consistently been Brazil's best player and has hauled them through the competition. Ronaldo has managed to score once a game or so, doing his bit so to say, but it's pretty obvious he'll never deliver on the promise of his younger days. It's kind of sad really. And as to the chicken or egg question... well... I don't know... probably the approach... once you have an approach you pick the players which suit the approach. That's probably the reason Juninho isn't a starting member of the squad. He might actually threaten to build up an offense from in deep. Instead we have Stig Tofting look-alikes punting the ball upfield for Rivaldo to shoot straight at the goalkeeper. While Ronaldinho is an excellent shot and has excellent technique, his first impulse when he gets the ball is to run at the defense and then either having a go himself or sending it to someone else. He doesn't seem to have a strategic bone in his body. *Answer: Picking flowers in the center-circle

posted by Kattullus at 12:44 PM on June 26, 2002

The last 2 world cups have soured my admiration for Brazil and I hope they get stuffed. Something very unsavoury went on before the last final. For them to announce a team without Ronaldo then change it half an hour later was very fishy. No one knows the truth, least of all me, but the whole thing stinks. Liberties were taken with a young mans future and well being for the sake of the sponsors. In my hapless opinion. Now we have Rivaldo who is a serial offender when it comes to acting like a big girls blouse. Even though he blatantly cheated and was shown to be cheating, he demonstrates no embarrassment or remorse, and his manager says he did the right thing. Then he continues to do it. Odious.

posted by Fat Buddha at 02:51 PM on June 26, 2002

And he looks like Skeletor. Don't forget that!

posted by kafkaesque at 03:10 PM on June 26, 2002

I remember Brazil in 94', the final was not as good as Holland vs. Brazil in Dallas, that was a great game. Maybe as some of you think the road to the final has been slow, so maybe this one will have a better final. Now, thinking of this, left me wondering how each country thinks of one another. Then,we have these Brazilian spots, with some workers imported from Brazil, blond blue eyed, with German names. I will root probably, depending if I'm at a tavern, Go Germany. And since jnthnjng pointed out the obvious ambiance to a Brazilian bar, maybe Go Brazil. Sure call me a front runner, yet I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side at this final end, no matter who wins. See I do get the game.

posted by thomcatspike at 03:53 PM on June 26, 2002

i'd like for germany to win, but they'll be hurting some without ballack. presumably ronaldo is going to be ok to play so i call advantage brazil.

posted by juv3nal at 08:14 PM on June 26, 2002

jnthnjng: Thanks for that. Made me think of this In the last few weeks I've heard lots of people criticize Brazil particularly for having a weak defense, but I sure didn't see anything weak about their D last night against Turkey. Not that the Turks have the strongest finishing side I've ever seen, but they pressed pretty concertedly for the entire match and were beaten at just about every turn. It seems to me that Brazil's defense is average at worst. But then, football fans don't criticize a team in such overwhelming numbers without reason, so I wish someone here would enlighten the dumb 'Mer'cun on just why their play is supposedly so pitiful. I know there's been a lot said here about that, but I still don't get it. They seemed exciting enough to me during the tournament. Also, yet another note about Korea. I'd assumed everyone knew why their fans all held signs that read "Corea" instead of "Korea", but I heard a BBC announcer (shouldn't say that -- he had a Brit accent, so I assume he was BBC) wonder aloud about this during the Portugal match. He suggested that that's how Korea is spelled in Portuguese. I dunno about that, but that definitely is not the reason. You see, C comes before J, whereas K... Folks over there really have a complex about this.

posted by Bixby23 at 09:36 PM on June 26, 2002

Perhaps it's just a football game, though... Football is not a matter of life and death, it's more important than that.

posted by Zool at 10:05 PM on June 26, 2002

Bixby23 - the story is that Japan and Korea both wanted first billing for the World Cup. Korea then suggested an alphabetical order. Japan jumped at the chance and agreed, thinking J came before K. But the official language of FIFA is French(they're based in Switzerland, I think)and, as K doesn't exist in French, Corée came first. And that's why it's the Korea/Japan World Cup. (K doesn't exist in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian or Romanian either. That is, in all the Latin languages. Same goes for W and Y. Yeah, I know...]

posted by Miguel Cardoso at 10:26 PM on June 26, 2002

[school teacher] Now, Miguel, you need to polish up on your French. K does indeed exist. For example, "les keufs portent le képi". But Corée is written with a C, don't ask me why. Also, "le wagon est bourré de yétis" and all that... [/school teacher]

posted by qbert72 at 11:48 PM on June 26, 2002

deep crimson thanks, gbert72!

posted by Miguel Cardoso at 06:20 AM on June 27, 2002

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