Germany will be the strong favourites to win the 2014 World Cup on Sunday evening in spite of Argentina’s excellent run to the final.
Joachim Lowe’s men, who fell at the semi-final stage four years ago to eventual champions Spain, battered hosts Brazil 7-1 in the tournament’s most shocking result of all time on Tuesday evening in a performance that highlighted the enormity of the task facing Alejandro Sabella’s men.
They may possess Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi who has risen to the occasion in South America to find the net four times, and the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria but the Germans possess quality in all aspects of the pitch rather than just attacking reinforcements.
In Manuel Neuer they possess one of the best goalkeepers in world football, with the Bayern Munich stopper justifying such praise with two stunning stops to thwart Brazil in Belo Horizonte.
Talent all over
The evolution of Philipp Lahm under Pep Guardiola at Munich has benefited the national team, whilst Mats Hummels has shown just why Louis Van Gaal craves him at Manchester United with a series of solid displays – including scoring the winner as they eliminated France in the quarter-finals.
Toni Kroos has been as stunning as ever, scoring a brace in Tuesday’s mauling to further endear himself to Real Madrid supporters as he closes in on a move to the Spanish capital, and Miroslav Klose has rolled back the years to score twice and overtake the Brazilian Ronaldo’s record for most World Cup finals goals.
However, if one name is to stand out as Germany’s best player, it is Thomas Muller. Another player who has benefitted from the stewardship of Guardiola, he has lit up the tournament and trails Columbia’s James Rodriguez by just a solitary goal in the race for the golden boot.
He scored a hat-trick as Portugal were demolished 4-0 in the group stages, and also found the net in the wins over the USA and Brazil to follow up the impressive tournament he had in South Africa four years previously.
What has been most extraordinary is the way Lowe’s men have coped in the absence of Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus. The winger sustained an injury that ruled him out of the finals during a 6-1 drubbing of Armenia, but his team-mates’ performances have ensured his absence has not been the hindrance many had expected.
Argentina are a wonderful side, but Germany will lift the trophy on Sunday. Their strength, both mentally and physically, makes them the current best team on the planet.
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