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Women's World Cup final

Lance Hardy | 17:23 UK time, Friday, 28 September 2007

Sunday's final of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup is an intriguing contest between Germany - the dominant world power of recent years, who have now added a stubborn defence to an impressive list of attributes - and Brazil - the 16-1 pre-tournament outsiders who have thrilled spectators and BBC viewers alike during the past three weeks with skill, flair and stunning goals.

It wasn't predicted but I feel it is a fitting climax to what has been an exciting and successful tournament. Brazil have won each of their five games so far and demolished China 4-0 in the group stage, while Germany have set a new World Cup record by not yet conceding a goal - interestingly, England are the only team the defending champions have not beaten on the way to the final.

How Germany can deal with the threat of Marta, Cristiane and Daniela is as fascinating as how Brazil's attacking trio will play against a defence that has now gone almost nine hours of World Cup finals football without conceding a goal.

Marta of Brazil kicks to score her second goal against the US in their semi-final match

Marta has been grabbing all the headlines in China, particularly after her stunning performance and brilliant goal in Thursday's 4-0 semi-final win over the USA - a firm favourite to win the goal of the tournament - but Brazil are far from a one-woman team and both Cristiane, in particular, and Daniela have impressed in China.

Marta was crowned Fifa Women's World Player of 2006 and it's fair to say she is as different as can be - in both physique and technique - from her predecessor German captain Birgit Prinz, who won the award three years in a row from 2003-2005.

With seven goals scored already Marta is in pole position to claim the Golden Shoe award for top goalscorer - another award that Prinz has previously won. Interestingly, Cristiane is placed second in the goalscoring list with five goals.

It promises to be a fascinating match. I am not sure that the world champions' crown will change hands on Sunday but what is interesting to note is the arrival of a team like Brazil in a women's football tournament on a world stage.

According to our studio guest Karen Walker (England's all-time record goalscorer), power in the women's game is by far the hardest thing to deal with and usually proves to be the deciding factor. It is the main reason why Germany, USA and the Scandinavian nations have dominated the sport for so long. The style and flair of Marta and her side at this tournament could well open up a new route for the emerging nations in women's football.

Sue Smith, who is also with us in the studio this Sunday for the final, talks of how England concentrated on how compressed the German midfield can be in the middle of the park - leaving space down both flanks. The one thing Brazil can take advantage of is space down the flanks. The USA started the tournament as firm favourites and ended it with a 4-0 semi-final defeat at the hands of Brazil with Marta showboating down the touchline. The power of the Americans was no match for Brazil's attack.

Interestingly, most of the Brazilian team play club football in Europe. Marta stars for Swedish champions Umea, who Arsenal defeated in the final of the UEFA Cup last season, while Cristiane plays in Germany for Wolfsburg. As is the case in England, there is no professional league in Brazil.

I went to South America on holiday this summer and was struck by how many women were honing their football skills on the famous Copacabana beach every day I spent in Rio de Janeiro. Football was being played and enjoyed by both sexes in equal number on that famous stretch of sand - I can only imagine what the party would be like should the South Americans triumph this Sunday.

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