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   June 28, 2002 | 1430 IST


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Big Phil and Rudi ready for final

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If the reputation of the two opposing coaches is anything to go by, Brazil versus Germany in Sunday's World Cup final will be a real humdinger.

Brazil's Luiz Felipe Scolari and Germany's Rudi Voeller are two of the hungriest animals in the football jungle.

At Yokohama's International Stadium, the pair will be on the edge of their touchline boxes, and sometimes out of them, as their players battle it out for the right to call themselves champions of the world.

Scolari, known affectionately as 'Big Phil' or less warmly as 'donkey' depending on how Brazil are doing, has little playing pedigree compared to his German counterpart.

The 53-year-old was a muck and bullets central defender in southern Brazil and he has encouraged the team to play a game based more on physique than their traditional finesse.

Viewing Scolari's expostulations in the technical area during a game are often as entertaining as watching his team. He berates everyone -- referees, linesmen, his own players, reporters -- in his quest for success the ugly way.

Big Phil, who never played for Brazil, has been known to encourage his players to foul their opponents, waste time and employ all sorts of gamesmanship to achieve the required outcome.

The results have been impressive.

His success in guiding Gremio to successive Libertadores Cup and national league titles in 1995 and 1996 by employing a fiercely physical playing style is unquestionable. Palmeiras also won the 1999 Libertadores title under Scolari.

Since replacing Emerson Leao as Brazil coach in June 2001, Scolari has withstood a barrage of criticism, come through a poor qualifying campaign and resisted a national hue and cry to revive the international career of ageing striker Romario.

"I say to the people of Brazil: Believe, believe, believe, because we can do much more," he says. "Not only in football, the whole nation can do more."


Such mental determination is a major factor in the psychological make-up of Voeller.

Eleven years Scolari's junior, Voeller moved into coaching after an illustrious playing career at the highest level.

Germany's 1990 World Cup success, when Voeller won the decisive penalty in the final against Argentina, was the highlight of his career, even though it followed a disgraceful spitting incident with Dutchman Frank Rijkaard earlier in the tournament.

Three years later Voeller was part of the Olympique Marseille side that won the European Cup and he is loved in Germany for having spent much of his playing career helping the national team out of some desperate scrapes.

The striker also scored in the 3-2 1986 World Cup final defeat by Argentina and won 90 caps in total for his country.

Despite almost no prior coaching experience, he is now on the brink of becoming Germany's fourth World Cup-winning coach.

Voeller's success, in transforming a German side that looked down and out after their 5-1 home humiliation by England in qualifying to World Cup finalists in the space of nine months, is astounding.

Then, the idea that Germany would be playing in their seventh final against Brazil was unthinkable.

"A few weeks ago when we played against high-calibre teams Cameroon and Ireland in the group stages, nobody expected us to reach the last 16," admitted the former Bayer Leverkusen boss.

"But we have played really, really well and deserve to be in the final."

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