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Nine days before opening the defense of its World Cup title, Germany plays Canada today at Toronto in its final tuneup game before the tournament.

"It is not a friendly match for us," defender Thomas Helmer said Tuesday at Germany's training camp in Alliston, Ontario. "Teams like Canada and America are very difficult. They have nothing to lose. If we win, people expect it. If we lose, it is considered a disaster."Germany plays Bolivia, the surprise qualifier from South America, in the tournament opener at Chicago on June 18. Canada, eliminated by Australia in qualifying, played Brazil to a 1-1 tie Sunday at Edmonton, Alberta.

"All these matches before June 17 must not be overestimated," Germany coach Berti Vogts said. "It is only after the World Cup begins that results matter."

Vogts may juggle his lineup against Canada. He used a one-forward offense last week against Austria, with Juergen Klinsmann up front supported by Andreas Moeller. Vogts wants to test Rudi Voeller, the 34-year-old forward he brought back to the national team last month, and Karlheinz Riedle.

Italy's soccer team, warning that tough competition awaits in the World Cup, arrived in the United States on Tuesday, greeted by some 100 cheering fans at Newark, N.J.

Italy coach Arrigo Sacchi said the team trained hard in Italy "to give Italian and Italian-American fans a lot of satisfaction in the tournament."

"We are confident, but there are several teams which are as good as we are," Sacchi said at Newark International Airport. "And we will need some luck as well."

The Italians, who knew more than two years ago that their first two games would be in the New York area, are expected to be virtually a home team at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. They play Ireland at Giants Stadium on June 18 and Norway on June 23 before playing Mexico in Washington on June 28.

The 22 players and the rest of the Italian delegation, wearing dark blue Armani suits and Gucci shores, arrived on an Alitalia jet, then quickly left the airport for their hotels. Italy worked out lightly at the Pingry School, near Franklin's Township. It plays Costa Rica on Saturday at New Haven, Conn., in its final tuneup.

In San Diego, only 10,000 seats had been sold by Tuesday for tonight's game between Brazil and Honduras at Jack Murphy Stadium. The rest of today's exhibition schedule has Belgium vs. Hungary in Brussels; Norway vs. Denmark in Oslo, Norway; and Bolivia vs. Peru in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Also, World Cup USA 1994 said singer Diana Ross will perform during the opening ceremonies before the Germany-Bolivia game in Chicago.