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World Cup: Brazil, Germany Face Off in Sunday Final - 2002-06-26


Sunday's World Cup football final in Japan will feature two traditional powers - three-time champion Germany against four-time champion Brazil. The Brazilians advanced to the title match Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Turkey.

The match at Saitama, northwest of Tokyo, was scoreless at halftime. The Brazilians had several excellent scoring opportunities during the first 45 minutes, but Turkey's goalkeeper, Rustu, foiled them.

Perhaps the best play by Rustu was in the 22nd minute, when he stopped a hard shot by Rivaldo, but could not control the ball. The Turkish keeper reacted quickly, though, and then stopped a close-range, follow-up shot by Ronaldo.

Early in the second half, Ronaldo broke the scoreless deadlock. The Brazilian star broke into the penalty box and toe-poked the ball past Rustu. It was Ronaldo's tournament-leading sixth goal of the World Cup.

Turkey tried desperately for an equalizer as the clock headed toward full time. Team captain Hakan Sukur had the best scoring chance, but he hit the ball directly at Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos.

Turkey also lost to Brazil (2-1) during the first round of the World Cup. Turkey's head coach, Senol Gunes praised the Brazilians for their play in both matches. And, he predicted Brazil would win its fifth World Cup championship. "Brazil is a very good side," he said. "They have many talented players. They played good in the first game against us, and they played good again in the second game. But this time, they were taking it much more seriously. They were a bit intimidated by our strength. They won all their games in this tournament. They had hard times in two games, both against Turkey. I may say that the final against Germany will be relatively easy for them."

Brazil will now prepare for Sunday's championship match against Germany in Yokohama, Japan. The Brazilians won their four previous World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, 1970 and 1994. Germany captured its World Cup crowns in 1954, 1974 and 1990. This will be the first time the teams have met in the World Cup final.

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