Our director of football David Pleat casts his eye over Sunday's World Cup finalists Brazil and Germany.
BRAZIL ARE the risk team, the great entertainers and play football with verve and bravery. They are not frightened to lose a goal and always have the confidence to score goals.
The have individuals like Rivaldo, like Ronaldhino, who sometimes refuse to play the simple ball but that's what makes them so magnificent. They go for the individualistic ethic within the team.
Undoubtedly Cafu has played with such energy that he has belied his years down that right-hand side but he has got in some terrific saving tackles as well. On the other side, Roberto Carlos remains unshakeable in his belief going forward but is an inconsistent defender of the diagnonal ball. Expect Germany, whether in the shape of Bode or Ziege, to look to pump balls into this area and hope that Klose, who is outstanding at 'hanging' in the air, or indeed Bierhoff, if he comes on, can capitalise.
What I also really like is the confidence in which the Brazilian centre-backs come out with the ball. Lucio and Edmilson, having made interceptions, seem to want to draw applause from the crowd with their ability to dribble forward.
Having said that Germany, too, in their semi-final, performed well defensively when in-particularly Ramelow came forward with the ball when the midfield player was tightly marked. In that case Yoo, of South Korea, was following Basturk and that allowed the centre-backs to come through without being engaged. Germany played this rather cleverly and with Dietmar Hamann in his best form of the tournament, they look a better bet in midfield.
Germany, of course, will be organised but so were Turkey in, for me, the best game of the tournament so far against Brazil in the semi-final. With both teams only having positive thoughts it was a joy to watch, although arguably no so for the managers! If Brazil had won 6-3 we would have been talking about one of the games of all-time.
I am fervently hoping that Brazil will win the final, not through some mistaken patriotism, but because they have played positively in the tournament from the word go and despite some self-indulgent play, they have the most talented group.
They have also proved that you can take a player out of the game via a dribble. Denilson, Rivaldo, Ronaldhino, Juninho, Cafu and, indeed, Robert Carlos can all go past opponents in this way. The English game is very much built on two or three-touch football, pass and move and I can't on the fingers of one hand think of five outstanding dribblers. Ryan Giggs immediately springs to mind and we all know how dangerous he can be.
We have to encourage players to have the confidence to 'take a man on' and also get through to coaches that occasionally a ball lost through a dribble, providing it is in the right area, is not such a terrible thing.
In closing, if the final has the quality of the two semi-finals then it will have revived the tournament after too many teams in the group stages played to a 'what we have, we hold' scenario.