Double World Cup-winner Franz Beckenbauer says he expects Germany to win Sunday's Euro 2008 final against Spain in Vienna on penalties – as the Germans have not missed in a shoot-out for 26 years.
Living-legend Beckenbauer, who won the 1974 World Cup as a player and as a coach in 1990, says he expects a high-scoring final at the Ernst-Happel Stadium on Sunday night, but expects penalty-kings Germany to sneak it.
Germany have not lost a penalty shoot-out at a major tournament since the 1976 European Championship final against the Czech Republic when current Bayern Munich manager Uli Hoeness fired over the bar.
Since then they have won five from five penalty shoot-outs.
Real Madrid's Uli Stielike was the last German to miss in a penalty shoot-out against France in the 1982 World Cup semi-final, but Germany still went through 5-4.
Their recent shoot-out wins include beating England at the semi-final stage of both the 1990 World Cup and Euro '96, as well as Argentina in the 2006 World Cup.
“I hope it will be a high-scoring final,” said Beckenbauer.
“There will be probably a couple of billion people around the world watching so I want lots of goals, a draw, extra-time and then Germany to win on penalties, of course!.”
And “The Kaiser” says he hopes Germany captain Michael Ballack lifts the trophy on Sunday night as reward for his return from injury and to make up for the disappointment of losing May's Champions League final.
“It's a great chance for him to win a big title, you know. He's going for it, he's fighting for it. So I wish him good luck”, said 62-year-old Beckenbauer.
“He can be the key player in the game because he's the leader in the German team.
“He's the man who dictates the game.
“If you look at him he's a real captain now, a real leader.
“Maybe he will be the difference in the final.
But Beckenbauer says he expects a fierce battle from Spain, who hammered Russia 3-0 in Thursday night's semi-final, while Germany had to come from behind to beat Turkey 3-2 on Wednesday.
“We have two classic football countries in the final in Spain and Germany,” said Beckenbauer.
“The German team's performance has not been like the Spanish team – which has been consistently good in every game and at a high technical level from the first match to the final.
“Spain were very impressive in the semi-final, they played a fantastic second half.
“With that performance they would beat every team in the world.
“The Spanish players are more flexible and technique-wise maybe they are better than the German team. Physically perhaps Germany are stronger.
“If the Spanish performance bring a performance like they did against Russia in the second half then they have a good chance to win.
“But if Germany play like they did against Portugal they also have a very good chance. So let's wait and see who does it.
“The thing about Germany is that they have an ability to concentrate in these big games, in important games.”
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