Sun, Sep 30, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Brazil stand in way of Germany and World Cup history

LAST TWO The Germans have yet to concede a goal in this year's World Cup but Brazil's in-form strikers could change that in today's final

AP , SHANGHAI

Germany's quest to become the first team in women's soccer history to defend a major title will face its ultimate test against Brazil in today's final of the women's World Cup.

No team in history has been able to defend a World Cup or Olympic title in the women's game, but never before has a team had credentials to match those of Germany.

From the time they won their opening match 11-0, Germany were stamped as the team to beat, and they will enter the final not only as the highest scoring team, but having also gone 529 minutes without conceding a World Cup goal.

Nadine Angerer is the custodian of that record as goalkeeper.

"It would be absolutely special to be the first team to win two in a row," Angerer said. "We are aware of that record. We have a whole list of reasons we want to win this World Cup, and that is one of them."

"I'm proud of what we've achieved by not letting in a goal, but if we win the final 3-2 it would be fine with me," she said.

Germany's perfect defensive record will face its greatest challenge against Brazil, whose strikers Marta and Cristiane have scored 12 goals between them in the tournament so far.

"I've been a little bit surprised in this tournament because Brazil are much more disciplined with their tactics than they have been in the past," Angerer said. "They've really improved their tactical systems a lot."

"I've played together with Cristiane for one and half years in club football, so of course I know that they have good individual players. They also have a lot of self-confidence at the moment," she said.

Along with confidence, Brazil's most valuable commodity is speed. World player of the year Marta combines pace with superb technique, while Maycon's speed when breaking from midfield undid the US on several occasions.

Dropping the defense deeper is the orthodox way to negate speedy forwards, but Angerer will still be urging her defenders to push up to crowd the midfield.

"They are quick, but we've played the same system in this tournament as we always play, and you can't make it different now," Angerer said.

Germany have never lost to Brazil at senior level, with a record of three wins and two draws.

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