World Cup Final: Germany v Argentina

By on July 14, 2014

Argentina will face Germany in the 2014 World Cup final at the Maracana stadium in Rio De Janeiro on Sunday night as Lionel Messi looks to forever immortalize his name as a footballing great by lifting the World Cup with Argentina against a German side that has been in the making for the past 12 years.

This will be their 3rd meeting in a World Cup final with both sides having mixed emotions from the last two meetings. The first time these two sides met in the World Cup final was back in 1986 where Diego Maradona led the Argentine team to their 2nd World Cup title. Four years later, in 1990 the two sides met again in the final but this time the Germans came out on top. Now the two giants of World football face each other in the fnal for the 3rd time in a bid to be crowned champions. No other fixture has been played as often in a World Cup final as Germany v Argentina. This is the 10th time that teams from Europe and South America face each other in the final. Seven of these finals have been won by the teams from South America. Both sides will face off for the seventh time at the World Cup, the only fixtures that have been played as often are Brazil v Sweden and Germany v Yugoslavia/Serbia (seven times). [via Opta]

Germany have been by far the most formidable team of the tournament so far and are the favorites to lift the title after their impressive display against the Brazilians in the semi final. They were off to a wonderful start to the tournament when the thrashed Portugal 4-0 in their opening game. Since then, they have fumbled a bit here and there and teams like Algeria really gave them a ahrd time in the knockout rounds. However they managed to get past them and that scare against the North African team in the round of 16 acted as a trigger for Joachim Low to change his formation and tinker with his tactics which have really paid off. They faced the host nation Brazil in the semi final and completely destroyed Scolari’s side with a 7-1 thrashing. They opened the scoring early on, in the 11th minute of the game thanks to Thomas Muller. The Germans then went on to add four more goasl in the 1st half to lead 5-0 by half time. But Low’s side didn’t stop there and managed to score two more goals in the 2nd half to lead the game by 7 goals. Brazil did score a concellation goal right at the end but it was of no significant as the Germans completely stole the show on that night. Now the Germans face another tough task in the form Argentina and Lionel Messi. La Albiceeste are the only thing standing between the Germans and their 4th World Cup title.

This German side represents a youth system that was developed some 12 years ago. Back in 2002, after a horrible Euro campaign, the German youth system was completely overhauled and massive changes were made at grassroots level which has led to the development of this team. Now, this blend of youth and experience has managed to reach the World Cup final and is on the verge of bringing home their 4th World Cup trophy. Although they might be inexperienced at winning major silverware but they have lots of experience of tournament finals and that could play a arole in this game. They made it into the semifinals in the 2010 final and now they have their sights set on the title after making it into the final. It might not be as easy a taks for the Germans as many thanks. The display against Brazil made them seem like an untouchable side but they do have their shortcomings, especially in defence. Argentina have managed to keep an impressive back four and if they stay tight they might make things very difficult for the Germans.

Thomas Muller, who won the golden boot back in 2010, has the opportunity to retain his title. The Bayern Munich forward has scored 5 goals so far in this tournament and is just one goal behind Colombia’s James Rodriguez. He will be motivated to score some goals in this game to retain that title. But Muller is not the only German threat that Argentina have to be careful off. Goals have come from all over the midfield with Ozil, Kroos and Khedira contributing. Furthermore, Lazio striker Miroslav Klose who break Ronald Luis Nazario da Lima’s record of 15 World Cup goals against Brazil in the last game by scoring his 16th will be looking to add some more to his tally with this being probably his last World Cup appearance.

Germany are set to play in their eighth World Cup final; more than any other nation. They have won three titles. They have won just one of their last four appearances in the World Cup final (1990 v Argentina). Germany have now reached a World Cup final in each of the last seven decades (1954, 1966, 1974, 1982 and 86, 1990, 2002 and now 2014). On the last five occasions that Germany have failed to score in a World Cup match, they have lost. The last time Germany scored in a World Cup match and lost was the 1994 quarter final defeat to Bulgaria (1-2). Germany are unbeaten in 17 internationals (W12, D5). Miroslav Klose has scored more World Cup goals than any other player in history and as many as the entire current Argentinian squad (16). Only Lothar Matthaus (25) has played more World Cup games than Klose (23, as many as Paolo Maldini). Thomas Muller has played a hand in 16 World Cup goals in 12 appearances at the finals (10 goals and six assists). Muller (2010 and 2014) and Klose (2002 and 2006) are the only players in history to score 5+ goals at consecutive World Cup tournaments. Muller is the first-ever Golden Boot winner to reproduce his number of goals at the following World Cup (five goals in 2010, five in 2014). He could also become the first player ever to win the Golden Boot at successive World Cups. No German player has created more chances for their teammates in the 2014 World Cup than Mesut Ozil (15). Andre Schürrle has scored three times in just 156 minutes of action so far at this World Cup. [via Opta]

Argentina have not been the most dmoniant side in this World Cup by any means but they have managed to grind otu results whenever it mattered and are actually unbeaten in the tournament so far. They won their first five games and had to win on penalties in the semi finals. The faced louis van Gaal’s Netherlands side in the semi finals in what was a very tight affari between two sides who were extra cautious to build up play and go forward. Although there were numerous half chances either way and a few clear ones as well, neither side could break the deadlock in regulation time and the game went on into extra time. Star man Lionel Messi created two glorious chances for Argentina to win the game in extra time however both were saved by the goalkeeper and the game had to be decided on penalties. Sergio Romero was the hero of the day for Argentina as he saved two of the Dutch penalties, one of which was a sublime save to deny Wesley Sneijder, and gave Argentina the win. The game against Netherlands was a real test for Sabella’s side and they weren’t very sharp in attack in that game. Although their defenders, who were considered a weak link before the start of the tournament, have really stepped up and have formed a solid unit over the past couple of games which will be of utmost importance in the game against the Germans, they have to add some sharpness to their attack as well if they are to break the German backline.

This is an especially important game for Argentina’s star striker Lionel Messi who looks to etch his name in the history books by leading his team to their 3rd World Cup trophy. He has been their best performer in this tournament scoring four goals so far and pretty much carried the team on his shoulders through the group stages scoring some very crucial goals. Furthermore, he played a crucial part in both the goals they scored in the knckout rounds. The Barcelona forward has won everything possible with his club side but has been criticized in recent times for not performing well at the international stage. However, this is his chance to prove his doubters wrong and become a true legend by lifting the World Cup. The 3 time Balon D’Or winner will never get a better chance to enter the league of legends than this as the entire nation’s hopes are pinned on his shoulders.

Argentina have another huge motivation for this World Cup final as the tournament is being hosted by their arch rivals Brazil and it will be an exceptional victory if they manage to win the World Cup on their rivals’ home ground. But it will not be an easy task as the German Machine has worked hard to reach this stage and will not go down very easily. They are probably the most attack minded team in the World Cup and can unlock any defence on their day. Sabella’s main focus will be to guide his team so they don’t concede an early goal because that would give the Germans the license to attack freely and that could be disastrous fro Sabella’s side.

Argentina are set to play in their fifth World Cup final, they have won two and lost two of the previous four. Argentina have won nine out of 20 games against Germany (D5 L6), though. The last meeting (August 2012, Frankfurt) saw Argentina win 3-1. No side have kept as many clean sheets as Argentina in the 2014 World Cup (four, Germany have three). Argentina are yet to concede a goal in the knock-out stages at this tournament (despite playing extra-time in two of their three games). Argentina haven’t been trailing in any of their six games at the 2014 World Cup, Germany just eight minutes (v Ghana). Argentina have won four out of five penalty shootouts at the World Cup, Germany won four out of four (including the one against Argentina in 2006). Argentina’s Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo lead the way in terms of crosses attempted from open play, with Rojo’s haul of 25 so far bettered only by team-mate di Maria (32). Lionel Messi has been the most creative player at World Cup 2014, setting up a tournament-high 21 goal-scoring chances for team-mates. Messi has embarked on a tournament-high 65 dribbles so far, completing (another-high) 39 of them. Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has attempted a competition-high 509 passes so far. Mascherano has also made the most tackles so far – 28. Lionel Messi has scored five World Cup goals to date, but none of them in the knockout stages. [via Opta]

Germany have only one injury worry ahead of that game. Shkodran Mustafi who filled in for Hummels against Algeria is out with an injury and will not feature. However, Low has enough defensive cover in the form of Hummels, Mertesacker and Boateng so this will not be an issue. Low is likely to stick with the same team that started against Brazil with Schweinsteiger and Khedira forming the double pivot while Philipe Lahm starts at a right back. Ozil will start on the left with Muller starting on the right.

Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella will be sweating over the condition of Angel di Maria. The Real Madrid star has been a key part of this Argentina side but picked up an injur against Belgium and is doubtful for this game. There were reports that he might make it to the final but his condition is still unclear. Enzo Perez started the semi final game in his place and is set to start this one as well. Although Sergio Aguero is fit again, it is unlikely that he will start this game and Gonzalo Higuain is set to start up front alongside Messi and Lavezzi. Martin Demichelis will retain his place in the starting line-up after another impressive display alongisde Ezequiel Garay.

DATE: July 13, 2014

TIME: 8:00 PM BST

VENUE: Estadio Jornalista Mario Filho (Maracana), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro

REFEREE:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:
Germany (4-2-3-1):- Neuer; Howedes, Hummels, Boateng, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Ozil, Kroos, Muller; Klose
Argentina (4-3-3):- Romero; Rojo, Demichelis, Garay, Zabaleta; Perez, Mascherano, Biglia; Lavezzi, Higuain, Messi

LAST MATCH:
Germany:- 7-1 vs Brazil
Argentina:- 0-0 vs Netherlands

AUTHOR’s PREDICTION: Germany 2-1 Argentina

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