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WORLD CUP USA 1994 : Brazil

July 17, 1994|Researched by EMILIO-GARCIA RUIZ / Los Angeles Times

The 52-game, 24-team World Cup has down come to this: Italy and Brazil have earned the right to play today at the Rose Bowl.

Claudio Taffarel Caps: 82 Up close: Brazil's vaunted offense and underrated defense have made for a relatively easy tournament for Taffarel, who has only needed to make 12 saves. That should change today. . . . Erratic club season culminated with a shutout for Reggiana against European champion A.C. Milan.

Jorginho Caps: 73 Up close: Has emerged as the most dangerous defensive player of the tournament with his runs deep down the right side and is considered among the world's best right defenders. . . . Assisted on game-winning goal in semifinals with perfect cross to Romario. . . . Anchored German League champion Bayern Munich's defense last season.

Mauro Silva Caps: 44 Up close: Has been unable to fill the team's dire need for a creative midfielder despite ample opportunity. . . . A teammate of Bebeto's in the Spanish League and together they led Deportivo La Coruna to second place behind Barcelona.

Branco Caps: 76 Up close: A solid but unspectacular member of the defense with a good scoring touch on free kicks. . . . Scored the game-winning goal against the Netherlands on a free kick. . . . Returned to play professionally in Brazil after stints in Italy and Portugal.

Bebeto Caps: 85 Up close: Has three goals, two assists and the best front-line partner a forward could ever request. . . . Did not have much of an impact against Sweden, although could have field day against depleted Italian defense. . . . Key component in La Coruna's failed bid to win Spanish League.

Dunga Caps: 55 Up close: One of the tournament's great name contrasts. He's nicknamed "Dunga the Destroyer" across Europe but his name means Dopey in Portuguese. . . . A defensive player whose presence limits the midfield's offensive creativity. . . . Style perfect for VfB Stuttgart in German League.

Zinho Caps: 40 Up close: A major disappointment who has not played well enough to justify Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's decision to leave the heralded Valdo off the team. . . . Has shown only flashes of potential on offense. . . .One of few national team members still playing professionally in Brazil.

Rai Caps: 56 Up close: With Mazinho playing poorly, he was inserted against Sweden and played even worse, consistently giving the ball away. . . . Play inspired chants of "Cafu, Cafu" from fans wanting tio see a different midfielder. . . . Helped Paris win French League title.

Romario Caps: 56 Up close: Has five goals, one assist and the best front-line partner a forward could ever request. . . . Only concern is midfield's inability to get him the ball, forcing him to back track to gain possession and then create own opportunities. . . . Cannot be guarded by only one defender. . . . Played on Barcelona team that was trounced by AC Milan, 4-0, in European Cup final.

Aldair Caps: 26 Up close: Major knee surgery in 1993 has done nothing to slow Aldair, whose play in the middle has been solid. . . .Has teammed with Marcio Santos to lead a defense that has allowed only three goals. . . . Played in Portugal before joining Roma of the Italian league.

Marcio Santos Caps: 41 Up close: Won a spot in the starting lineup because of an injury to Mozer and seems unlikely to ever give it up. . . . Has been tenacious heading away balls in the middle. . . . Currently plays professionally in France, but excellent World Cup should land him in a better league soon.

Mazinho Caps: 53 Up close: Hanging on to starting job by a thread after being benched during semifinal. . . . Somehow missed a wide open net in first half against Sweden. . . . Poor play in Italy led to his return to Brazilian pro league where he led Palmeiras to 1993 title.

COACH: Carlos Alberto Parreira Age: 51 World Cup Experience: Coached Kuwait in 1982 tournament in Spain, the United Arab Emirates in 1990 in Italy and Brazil this year. World Cup Record: 5-5-2 Up close: Besieged by the Italian press, criticized for lineup decisions by his mother and Pele, Parreira has his team in the finals nonetheless. . . . Should be applauded for including Mario Zagalo, who coached Brazil to the World Cup title in 1970, on his coaching staff. . . . Has coached the national teams of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and reportedly would be interested in directing U.S. team if Bora Milutinovic is not retained.


KEY GK: Goal keeper D: Defender MF: Midfielder F: Forward

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