On Sunday Argentina and Germany meet once again in a World Cup final, this time at
the famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janiero. It will be difficult to predict who will emerge victorious at the final whistle with another close game a serious possibility.
Germany will be on a high after their 7-1 annihilation of host nation Brazil in the semi-final but they will also know that Argentina will be an entirely different proposition in the final. The Brazilian side they faced quite simply capitulated and have been regarded as one of the worst Brazilian sides of all time.
Many people will get carried away by Germany's success in this game, and see them as the outright favourites to become champions once again, but the Germans themselves will not be lured into thinking that way. There is still a lot of work to be done if they are to win a fourth World Cup.
Argentina themselves have been very German-like in their approach to this tournament. They have based their game on a strong defence, narrow victories and penalty shoot-out wins. They are not the greatest Argentinian side to grace the World Cup but they do have a great team ethic and a habit of winning. Both they and Germany have made it through to the final based on this sound platform.
Although Argentina have been thankful for Lionel Messi's goals and input they are not solely reliant on him, despite some pundits making us think otherwise. However, they need others to step up and become much more of a goal threat and add more creativity to the team in the final.
Messi was not at his best during their semi-final victory over the Dutch, especially as he failed to touch the ball once in the opposition's penalty area during the 120 minutes. However he will always be a threat just by virtue of his extraordinary skills. The Dutch though kept him at bay well.
Picking a winner?
Germany seem to be peeking just at the right moment and in tournament football this is a
priceless habit. They are a threat all over the pitch with both goals, from the likes of Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose, and penetration and possession from the likes of Toni Kroos.
They are also a very unified team in the search of their one ultimate goal. It was interesting to note the disappointment on the face of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and his defenders when they gifted Brazil a consolation goal in the 90th minute of their clash, despite already having scored seven themselves.
This is the sign of a side who have a huge desire and will to win. This attitude is important when games may not be going the way they planned.
Germany though will need to break the hoodoo which has hung over European teams during
World Cups in South America. As yet no European side has been able to lift the trophy on South American soil but Germany will feel that they have the greatest chance of changing this. Germany have not won a major trophy since 1996 so they will want to show a generation of Germans, who have never seen them win a trophy, that they can do it and are a nation of winners.
Argentina themselves have failed to win a World Cup since 1986 and for a country so
passionate about the game this is a statistic they will want to put right. However, even if they don’t win on Sunday they can take solace from the fact that they have reached the World Cup final in the backyard of their nearest and greatest rivals Brazil.
So the stage is now set for the final. Don’t expect there to be an avalanche of goals but do expect it to be an enthralling and tense affair between two of the world's footballing superpowers who are fully focused on being world champions once again.
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