Despite having secured a grand total of seven World Cup trophies between them prior to the 2002 tournament, meetings between Brazil and Germany have been scarce in the biggest soccer tournament of them all. In fact, prior to the competition getting under way in Japan and South Korea 12 years ago, two of the blue riband teams of international football had never met each other on the world stage.
But in the 2002 World Cup, it seemed destined to happen, as both teams plotted their way to the final with distinction on separate halves of the draw.
Inspired by some dominant performances from midfielder Michael Ballack and veteran goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, Die Mannschaft eased through the group stages of the competition before tackling the knockout phases with a brutal ruthlessness.
Consecutive 1-0 wins against Paraguay, the United States and co-hosts South Korea put the Germans in the final, with Ballack notching the winner in the latter two clashes. But unfortunately for the Europeans, the Bayer Leverkusen man would miss the final after picking up a yellow card against the Koreans and a subsequent one-game suspension.
Just as the Germans had lived up to their stereotypical stylistic principals during their run to the final, so did the Brazilians. Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men had played with a style and swagger throughout the tournament, with the effervescent trio of Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo terrorizing defenses with their blend of pace, power, agility and supreme skill.
Ronaldo and this Brazil team were out to avenge the heartbreak of four years earlier when they were hammered 3-0 by the French, while Germany were looking to move level with the Selecao and Italy on four world titles.
So with these two powerhouses of international soccer to meet again for the second time in World Cup football in the semi-final of the 2014 tournament, here’s your chance to relive their first ever meeting in what was an enthralling final 12 years earlier.
Match: Brazil vs. Germany
Competition: 2002 World Cup
Date: 30 June 2002
Stadium: International Stadium, Yokohama
After watching the match, feel free to post your observations regarding the game in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your feedback, and whether the match lived up to its billing or not. Plus, if you have any suggestions for classic soccer matches for us to feature in future columns, let us know in the comments section below!