World Cup 2014 Finals: Argentina VS Germany Preview
World Cup Finals Prediction: 2-0 Germany
Argentina and Germany will revive the memories of the World Cup Finals at the Maracana on Sunday, with both sides remembering the history of the fixture with mixed emotions.
Both Germany and Argentina’s last World Cup triumphs came against each other. Germany was crowned champions after defeating the Argentines in 1990. And the South Americans won the trophy back in 1986 after edging West Germany in Mexico.
World Cup Finals 1986 – Argentina 3-2 West Germany
In a tournament remembered by many as the Maradona show, Germany fell 2-0 behind in Mexico City early in the 2nd half. The Germans, managed by Franz Beckenbauer, pegged it back to 2-2, with goals from Karl-Heinz Rummennigge and Rudi Voller with less than 10 minutes to play. The match looked to be going into extra time before one moment of brilliance from Maradona made the winning goal and crowned the South American Champions.
A perfect through ball was passed by El Diego to Jorge Burruchaga who rushed towards goal and shot under German stopper Schumacher to make it 3-2. It was West Germany’s second consecutive defeat in the World Cup Finals and Argentina’s last triumph in the tournament.
World Cup Finals 1990 – Argentina 0-1 West Germany
Argentina and West Germany meet again in the following World Cup Finals at the Stadio Olympico Italy. The Germans, making their 3rd consecutive appearance in the World Cup Finals, were looking to revenge their defeat in the last World Cup. Following the end of the Berlin wall, the newly united Germany would be playing their final tournament as West Germany and were favourites ahead of the clash.
Argentina’s Pedro Monzon became the first man to have been sent off in a World Cup Final after a challenge on Jurgen Klinsmann. The breakthrough came just 5 minutes before the end when Rudi Voller was challenged in the box and defender Andreas Brehme stepped up to take the spot kick and crowned Germany the champions.
World Cup Finals 2014: Argentina VS Germany Preview
Joachim Löw’s side have had the upper hand in their most recent World Cup contests, defeating Argentina on penalties on home soil in 2006, before defeating them 4-0 in 2010 in South Africa.
Rather than simply being ruthless and efficient in the tournament so far, the Germans have really found success with balance. Germany play a smooth, simple passing game tempered by pragmatism rather than passing for the sake of passing like the Spanish Tiki-Taka football game. When necessary, German players are able to launch lightning fast counter attacks, instigated once thier defensive high pressing game wins them possession.
Joachim Löw has made Germany more dangerous going forward by shifting captain Philipp Lahm from a holding midfield role to his usual right back role, and playing Toni Kroos, Bastien Schweinsteiger, and Sami Khedira in a three man midfield. Kroos and Schweinsteiger provide the passing that make the German side work, while Kedira has impressed with his box-to-box running and combinations.
On the other hand, Argentina has been rather enigmatic in the tournament, with very little potency in the Argentine attack, save Lionel Messi. The Barcelona super star had to drag his team forward and bail them out for most of the competition with his often solitary goals or assists.
With Angel di Maria possibly out of the final with an injury, Ezequiel Lavezzi turning up the pace but not making much head way in terms of scoring, and with Gonzalo Higuain still not making the most of his chances, Argentina will have to hope Lionel Messi shows up in the final if they are to win.
The one positivity of this Argentinian team is their defense. The back line have kept four clean sheets so far, a rather impressive statistic for a team that is not known for defending. Javier Mascherano has been a rock in his defensive midfield row, and almost certainly ensured Argentina’s progression to the final with his last ditch tackle on Arjen Robben in the dying minutes of the FIFA World Cup Semi Final Match.
If Argentina were to remain defensively solid, and if Lionel Messi was able to provide that one spark of magic, Argentina will be headed for a very famous third World Cup victory at the historic Maracana stadium.
For Germany, it is an opportunity to finally get over the finish line and reap the ultimate benefit from the restructuring of the country’s soccer a little more than a decade ago. Argentina, now led by Lionel Messi, a man set for a date with destiny. Messi will take on the opponents against whom the man with which he is forever compared, Diego Maradonna, achieved much recognition in the 1986 World Cup Finals and then stifled him at the same stage 4 years later. Much pressure rests on the shoulders of Messi and his team mates to deliver the trophy after a 28 year drought.
Should Germany triumph at the Maracana on Sunday, they will make history as the first ever European side to win a World Cup on Latin America soil.
A startling 7-1 victory in the FIFA World Cup Semi Finals against host nation Brazil means that Germany will start as hot favourites. Argentina, having gotten past Netherlands after a goalless draw and a nerveless performance in the penalty shoot out, now have to tame the rampaging Germany machine at the Maracana.
World Cup Resume:
Germany: 18 appearances | 3 championships (1954,1974,1990) | 4 runners-up (1966,1982,1986,2002) | 4 third places (1934,1970,2006,2010)
Argentina: 16 appearances | 2 championships (1978,1986) | 2 runners-up (1930,1990)
Players to watch:
Germany – Thomas Müller. The second leading goal scorer with 5 goals, behind Colombia’s James Rodriguez with 6, Müller is so much more than a specialist who lingers near the front and waits for service. Throughout the World Cup, Müller has covered the most ground with 68.8km, a reflection of the fact the he is an indefatigable player who can play in a number of positions. Müller has described himself not as a striker or as any of soccer’s traditional positions, but as a Raumdeuter – space interpreter. His preternatural ability to make runs into unexpected openings in defenses as well as his goals, have not been so much spectacularly athletic moments, but the results of someone who knows exactly where he needs to be. Germany coach Joachim Löw has tipped Müller to be the one who will break Germany striker Miroslav Klose World Cup record of 16 goals.
Argentina – Lionel Messi. The embodiment of No.10, the jersey number worn by a soccer team’s principle playmaker, Lionel Messi seems always to have the ball glued to his feet as he glides his way around and past defenders, until the moment where he sees a perfect opening to score himself or to pick up a team mate. Out of Argentina’s 8 goals in this FIFA World Cup tournament, Lionel Messi has scored 4 and assisted another. In fact, many feel that the Argentina team is simply too dependent on this one person. Messi is attempting to live up to the ultimate standard – Diego Maradona’s leadership of Argentina to the 1986 World Cup Title – and so far, he has been up to the monumental task.
For both Argentina and Germany, this moment has been some time in the making. Now it all comes down to which team can seize it on the big day in Maracana on Sunday.
World Cup Finals Prediction: 2-0 Germany | SGSoccerPitches