The Brazil 2014 World Cup final is upon us and this year’s edition features Brazil’s great rival Argentina and the European side that sent the hosts out of the competition Germany. Argentina and Germany qualified for the final in circumstances that couldn’t be more different. The South Americans defeated the Netherlands on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes while Die Mannschaft inflicted Brazil with their worst international defeat ever in a 7-1 rout.
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Argentina’s path to the final may not have been glamorous but the team has always delivered. Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has scored most of their goals and is tied on second with Thomas Muller on the top scorers list, one behind Colombia’s James Rodriguez. If the Albiceleste are to win this final, they will need Messi firing on all cylinders as the other members of the Argentina attack have contributed precious little in terms of scoring. Gonzalo Higuain is still not taking his chances, Ezequiel Lavezzi ramps up the pace but is yet to trouble the score keepers and Sergio Aguero keeps getting injured. More worryingly for Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is the possible absence of Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria who has arguably been his best player in this tournament after Messi.
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After coming in second or third in the past three World Cup tournaments, the Germans look like they are ready to get theirs. Joachim Low’s charges combine the typical German efficiency with a smooth passing game- much different from passing for passing sake like the Spanish tiki-taka, pass-the-opposition-to-death style. When the occasion calls for it, the Germans are also capable of lightning-fast counterattacks and their goals come from anywhere on the pitch. Thomas Muller became only the second player ever to score five goals in back-to-back World Cups after scoring one goal of many on Tuesday and Miroslav Klose is now the highest goal scorer of all time at the World Cup with his opener against Brazil. Having scored 17 goals in six matches so far, it is obvious that this German team know how to find the back of the net.
With his attack stuttering and the possible absence of Angel Di Maria, Alejandro Sabella would look to his defense to keep the rampant Germans at bay on Sunday. The Argentine backline has already kept four clean sheets so far, an impressive record for the department that was accused of being the weak link of the team.
For Germany, it remains to be seen whether Coach Joachim Low will stick to playing Philip Lahm in his natural fullback position or move him back into defensive midfield at the expense of either Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira. Despite being withdrawn at half time against Brazil, Mats Hummels is expected to be fit for the final.
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Argentina (4-3-3): Romero, Rojo, Garay, Demichelis, Zabaleta; Mascherano, Gago, Rodriguez; Lavezzi, Higuain, Messi
Germany (4-3-3): Neuer; Boateng, Howedes, Hummels, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Ozil, Muller, Gotze
The Germans will have taken a lot of confidence from the Brazil result and I expect them to defeat an Argentina team that has only gotten this far because of the genius of Lionel Messi.