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June 24, 2005

Ronaldinho and Ballack, two styles face to face

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The personal combat between Germany's Michael Ballack and Brazil's Ronaldinho in Confederations Cup semi-final will typify the clash of styles of the two world-championship finalist teams.
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira thinks this could well decide the game.
"They are very different players," Parreira said after their final training session. "Ronaldinho is a very creative player, who concentrates on attack. Ballack is more of an organiser, reliable in defence and a strong header. They have completely different game styles but they're both players who can decide any match when they have a good day."
Ballack, 28, is Germany's one established world-class player, the all-action hero of a side relying on guts and graft more than flair.
His twin objective on Saturday will be to police the midfield, while getting forward as much as possible to test a frail looking Brazil defence.
Ronaldinho, the 25-year-old World Player of the Year, is Brazil's main creative heart. Virtually every Brazil attack starts with him and if he is at his dazzling best on Saturday, Germany's young defence could struggle to cope.
Ballack was absent because of suspension when Brazil beat Germany in the 2002 World Cup final.
Germany would dearly love to gain revenge on Saturday and give themselves a major morale boost before they host the 2006 World Cup.
Parreira says they are going to have to wait.
"The semi-final on Saturday will not be about revenge for the 2002 final," Parreira said. "That was in the World Cup and to gain revenge Germany are going to have to wait until 2006, get to the final and beat us then."Mexico and Argentina meet in the second semi-final on Sunday in Hanover, with the final in Frankfurt on Wednesday.