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Final could go to a shootout

By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 30, 2002

Steve Trittschuh played on the 1990 U.S. World Cup team. He also played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny of MLS and Tampa Bay Rowdies of the American Professional Soccer League. He spoke with Times staff writer Rodney Page about the World Cup final.

If you were to ask me at the beginning of this World Cup if I thought Germany and Brazil would be in the final, I would have said, "No way."

Brazil was not playing very well in qualifying, and Germany was kind of rebuilding. I had France, Argentina and Italy as the favorites, so I guess that shows what I know.

Now you're left with two teams that have the most tradition. I think it will be a good game. I think it will be 0-0 and go into penalty kicks.

Germany will be without (forward Michael) Ballack (due to two yellow cards), but I'm not sure that will hurt it that much.

Germany is so organized in the back that unless they completely break down, I don't see them letting Brazil score. They make very few mistakes, and they are a big, physical team. I think they will sit back a little bit and let Brazil come at them. They have to hope for a counter-attack to get a goal.

Of course, Brazil will come at them. I think Brazil has the advantage on the offensive side. Brazil is going to have to stay disciplined and not get frustrated with what Germany throws at it.

If Germany gets the first goal, forget it. You saw that in the game against the United States. They've allowed only one goal. Germany is not going to allow many chances, and if they do (goalkeeper) Oliver Kahn has played so well that he won't allow anything.

Brazil also has played well defensively. But its strength is going forward and putting pressure on the defense.

It is a battle of teams with different styles, but I don't think that means it will be an exciting game.

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