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   June 26, 2002 | 1535 IST


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Germans face historical final

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Adrian Warner

Germany face a World Cup final of historical significance on Sunday regardless of the result of Wednesday's semi-final between Brazil and Turkey -- in sporting and social terms.

Astonishingly, three-times winners Germany have never played Brazil in the 72-year-old history of the World Cup despite the fact that the countries have been involved in every final since World War Two apart from the 1978 Argentina-Netherlands clash.

If Turkey pulls off an upset and reaches the final at only their second World Cup, the final would have a special significance in terms of politics and security in Germany, given that around 2.5 million Turks live in the country.

German soccer fans celebrate in Berlin after Germany won against South Korea Most major German cities, especially in the Rhine and Ruhr region and in the capital Berlin, have large Turkish communities after hundreds of thousands of Turks went to Germany as "guest workers" when its economy was booming in the 1960s and 1970s.

It is one of the great curiosities of the history of football that four-times champions Brazil and Germany, the two most successful World Cup nations, have never stepped on to the same stage at the game's most prestigious theatre.

Brazil have played in all 17 tournaments and Germany in 15. Both have appeared six times in the final itself, Brazil winning in 1958, 1962, 1970 and 1994 and Germany in 1954, 1974 and 1990.

Only seven countries have won the World Cup -- Argentina, England, France, Italy and Uruguay are the others -- and there have been World Cup meetings between all of them except for Brazil and Germany, who beat co-hosts South Korea 1-0 on Tuesday to reach the final.


Berlin has the largest community of Turks outside of Turkey, with around 200,000 -- the vast majority still holding Turkish passports.

Many Turks were invited to help bridge labour shortages in the low-skill sector in Germany's post-World War Two boom. Even after the former West Germany closed its doors again to foreign workers in 1973 as unemployment spiralled during the global oil crisis that year, the Turkish community continued to expand as families grew and children joined their parents.

Some Turks say Germans make them feel as though they have overstayed their welcome. Xenophobia has been on the rise in recent years, leading to an increase in racially-motivated attacks. Immigration policy is presently at the centre of the German election campaign.

Police are certain to make sure plenty of officers are on the streets of their cities before, during and after the final which will take place during the early afternoon German time.

Thousands of ecstatic Turkish fans blocked roads in Berlin in celebrations after they reached the quarter-finals and also hit the streets when they made the last four for the first time.

Germany, the host of the next finals in 2006, would not want to see trouble on their streets spoil what has been a hooligan-free World Cup so far in South Korea and Japan.

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