The 2014 World Cup has come down to a final match between two soccer powerhouses—Germany and Argentina.
Germany and Argentina have met two previous times in the World Cup, 1986 and 1990, both of which were one-goal differences, with each team splitting a victory—and this World Cup they will meet for the third time in history in the big show.
Although it has been over two decades, 24 years to be exact, since they last met, there is still a lot of similarities between these two countries.
Out of the 19 World Cups that have taken place, Argentina and Germany make up five of those titles, something which in part is quite impressive when you include their 11 appearances in the grand game, combined.
It is simple, these two countries live and breathe futbol, this is their national pastime, their sport of choice and to many it is a way of life, so in reality we could not have asked for a better or clearer matchup that just makes sense.
Although Germany — ‘the machine’— are undoubtedly the heavy favorites, especially after their 7-1 offensive showboat against host Brazil, there is still some hope for perhaps the best soccer player in the world, Argentina’s Lionel Messi, to put a wrench in that machine.
Messi has been the key player on the team and an engine in every game they have competed in this tournament, but will his size be a factor against these superb physical Germans who possess tremendous ability?
Well, here is an interesting fact: the Argentines went 3-0 in group stage play, in a group that included Iran, Nigeria and Bosnia—really underrated teams.
The much smaller and less physical Argentina had to then move on to the round of 16 and defeated Switzerland, 1-0, followed by a 1-0 win over the young studs of Belgium in the quarterfinals.
All these matches were against bigger and more powerful teams on paper, but the Argentines did not let down at as they played excellent defense behind keeper Sergio Romero and center back Ezequiel Garay, as they knocked in the scores when the opportunity presented itself.
This led to the semifinal game against the Netherlands, which ended in a 0-0 draw heading into penalty kicks where Romero was hands down the player of the match with two critical saves against Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder.
Argentina will have to pull out all their tactics and strengths if they hope to even try to compete against ‘the machine’ because the 120 minute game against the Dutch, including one less day of rest as opposed to the Germans, can really hurt the Argentines who need to play at 100 percent if they stand a chance.
The Germans eased their way out of their group stage, despite tying Ghana 2-2. The round of 16 win over Algeria was a little sketchy, then a 1-0 win over the always tough France in the quarterfinals boosted them into a semifinal we thought would be a classic, it was but then it wasn’t.
It was the biggest defeat ever in the history of a World Cup, especially between these two teams, but Germany is also healthy and has all the energy a team would die to have at this point in the tournament.
So, in reality, all things are pointing out to Germany trouncing the South American kings, but it won’t be an easy task. The lifetime stat is that no European country has ever won a World Cup in either North or South American soil, and that is just the way things have gone.
Argentina will not go down as easy as the Brazilians did—sorry guys—but they will be tested to the ultimate and will need to play another perfect game if they hope to stand a chance against Europe’s finest futbol country.
With Germany’s tough defense that includes Jerome Boateng, Matts Hummels as the center backs and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the Argentines have their hands full. And let’s not forget that German offense, which seems to have scorers in every position including their bench.
Germany has 17 goals scored thus far while Argentina has tallied less than half of that with only 8, but the defense has also been stingy allowing only three goals in six games while Germany has allowed four.
If Argentina pulls off the win as the underdogs, it will prove to be a story of its own for people to speak of for another four years. But if Germany can do what they have been doing, then there is no doubt we will see the first European win on American soil.
Germany entered the tournament as FIFA’s second-ranked team, and with top-ranked Spain crashing and burning in the group stage, it is hard to argue that Germany isn’t the best side in the world.
It should be a one-goal game because Argentina will not go down without a fight and will play with every last bit of energy left in them.
That being said, Germany is so fresh and good to-go that maybe their confidence level is too high, but it will make for a very fun and action-packed game between the top two teams in the world.
The finale will be played at noon Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.