Match Number: 721 Date: 30.06.2002 Location: Yokohama, Japan Competition: World Cup, Japan/Korea 2002 - Finals GERMANY: Kahn - Linke, Ramelow, Metzelder - Frings, Hamann, Jeremies (77. Asamoah), Bode - B. Schneider - Klose (74. Bierhoff), Neuville Coach: Völler BRAZIL: Marcos - Lucio, Edmilson, Roque Junior - Cafu, Gilberto Silva, Roberto Carlos - Kleberson, Rivaldo - Ronaldo (90. Denilson), Ronaldinho (85. Juninho Paulista) Coach: Scolari Scoring: 0:1 Ronaldo (67., assist Rivaldo) 0:2 Ronaldo (79., assist Kleberson) Referee: Pierluigi Collina (Italy) Yellow cards: Klose - Roque Junior Attendance: 69,029
There really isn't much to say about teh final, except that it went pretty much to form. The ironic thing is that it was the man who got the Germans this far that spelled the end - Oliver Kahn.
After some initial Brazilian pressure, the Germans began to assert themselves and control the pace. Suprisingly, it was not a completely negative performance. Relatively crisp passing and quick attacks, especially over Neuville allowed the Germans to apply pressure on the Brazilain defense. However, despite winning lots of corners, the German air game was neutralized by the tall Brazilian defensers, who were easily up to the task. Furthermore, once the Germans got to the penalty zone, they lacked ideas; clearly they could have used suspended Michael Ballack.
The Brazilians meanwhile, were clearly having trouble with the solid German defense and midfield. Rivaldo and Ronaldinho Gaucho were basically worthless, although Ronaldo looked dangerous when he had the ball. Most of the time Linke was able to contain him. Then, with about 5 minutes left in the half, the Brazlians put together a nice series of assaults, starting with Kleberson's shot off the crossbar, as he caught Kahn off his line. Again, a couple of moments later, Kahn came up with a nice save off Ronaldo's point blank shot after a scramble. At half-time, the game was still up for grabs.
In the 2nd half, Germany had a nice opportunity as Neuville, again playing a strong game, hammered a long free kick. However, Marcos made a great fingertip save to deflect the shot just enough off the post.
The decisive moment came a little after the hour. Hamman, who otherwise had a decent match, let himself get stripped of the ball in front of his own box...he should be tarred and feathered for that. Ronaldo gave a quick pass to Rivaldo, who unleashed a hard shot straight at Kahn. Normally, this is something a 10 year old stops easily. But it shocking bounced out of Kahn's hand's as he tried to smother, and there was a unmarked Ronaldo for a tap in.
With Brazil in the lead, coach Rudi Voeller had to make some changes. He immediately brought on oldie Oliver Bierhoff for the ineffective Klose. This is partially justifiable, although a bruiser like Jancker might have been a better pairing with the active Neuville. Then he brought on a worthless Asamoah for Jeremies, who actually had been playing a decent game, unusually clean. And he had been one of the more dangerous midfielders with a couple of good shots. This indirectly led to the 2nd goal. Kleberson dribbled through the defense and passed to Ronaldo, who made a swift move and slammed into the corner of the net, unstoppable. Only Asamoah was trying to defend him. Now the game was over, although Bierhoff almost pulled one back a couple of minutes later. A nice pass he turned and one-timed, but again Marcos came up with a brilliant save to push around the post.
Overall, deserved win for Brazil. Although the Germans did what they wanted, i.e. destroy Brazil's game plan and control the ball, the Brazilians did create a few chances when they did have the ball. The Germans instead never really took advantage of theirs. Ollie Kahn didn't have his best game, and his only mistake probably cost the match. But realistically, he did play very well (although some of the German press gave him low marks, completely unfair). The German defense and defensive midfield played well. Neuville was dangerous, but the attack was pretty lame. The Brazilian defense was solid, and was obviously not going to give up the "one goal" that Germany was obviously playing for...at least without some imagination, which the Germans lacked. The DFB squad has to be satisifed with 2nd place, and given the pre-tournament predictions, they should be thrilled.