Yes we are at the end of the month long journey of the Fifa world cup 2014. In what has been an exciting tournament which always throws up new stars, here we are at the end of the tournament. The all important final between Germany and Argentina.
The Germans are on the verge of history, if they win, they will be the first Non-South American team to have ever won the trophy on South American soil. For Argentina on the other hand, it will be a matter of pride to win it on the soil of their perennial rivals. Moreover, Messi will be crowned the greatest of all time if he wins it. Though Pele has managed to win it more than once in style. But there is no doubt about the talent of that man.
The Germans hammered the Brazilians in the semi finals. Nothing more to tell about that game. Brazil had it coming from one of the big teams, they were lucky that it was not in the finals of the tournament. Argentina meanwhile took a more cautious approach to their game against Netherlands. As Mascherano put it after the game “I tore my a** to make that tackle”. Indeed their defense gave it all in the game, though very little was offered from the other side.
The Germans wrapped up their game in 90 minutes, whereas the other semi finals went on for 120 minutes. Will fatigue be a factor, the Germans have had an extra day of rest and 30 minutes less play time. That does make a difference, but will the weather hamper their chances? Or will it be Messi who will hamper their chances? For Germans this is a culmination of what started 10 years ago. They went out of group stage in Euro’04, which led to changes in their football system. From then on they have managed to reach at least the last four of every major football tournament. In that time period they have faced Argentina twice in the 2006 world cup and 2010 world cup. The 2006 world cup match was in the quarter finals and the match went on to penalties, where the Germans emerged victorious. While, in 2010 it was an easy affair for Germany in the Round of 16, they knocked out an Argentine team which was poor in defense 4-0. The two teams met back to back in the finals of the world cup in 1986 and 1990. The 1986 world cup was won by Maradona and the 1990 world cup was won by Germany. And that is how it will be remembered even this year, only for Maradona to be replaced by Messi.
But if we take the over all head to head, Argentina has more wins over Germany. The previous time that these two teams met in 2012, Argentina came out on top. But stats apart, let us come to the present teams scenario.
The Germans have a solid team, everybody knows that. Their only weakness is an out and out striker who can play the full 90 minutes. Though Klose is there, he cannot play the full game. Muller and Gotze can play in that role. But Muller has gone missing in that role in a game or two in that role. Their midfield is power packed, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Khedira, Ozil and Lahm have been terrific. Kroos, Schweinsteiger and Khedira played a crucial role in the thumping score line over Brazil. Lahm has played as a CDM and RB for the team. He is the unsung hero of this team. Coming to their defense, which is rock solid with Hummels, Boateng, Mertersacker and littler known Howedes. They play a very high line, which is why teams tend to play long balls to out run the defenders. Their defense does lack pace with Mertersacker in it but it has not been a problem, Boateng is deployed as a CB in games where opponents have high speed attackers. Manuel Neuer, though deployed as a goal keeper he does try to be adventurous and does a terrific job. He has been the best goal keeper in the tournament so far.
Argentina meanwhile have had a transition in captaincy from Mascherano to Messi. Their world cup game has not been so convincing enough to tout them to beat the Germans in the final, but you never know. Some of their games has required individual brilliance from Messi and Di Maria, where as a few games required team effort like the previous two games against European teams. With Messi playing the central role behind the strikers Higuani, Aguero or Lavezzi, their attack is one of the best in the tournament. With Mascherano playing the role of holding midfielder, provides cover for the weak defense. Di Maria adds the much needed pace in the wings. Though their defense is not world class, they have not conceded a single goal in the knock out stages of the world cup. That is some statistic to be worried about. Romero has certainly come off age for Argentina and is performing well. Whether it was luck as he claimed or he did have a chit regarding the preferred positions of the penalties that Dutch players too, he was the hero that night for Argentina.
The Chinese firm Baidu which has had a good run so far in predicting the games, it failed yesterday for the prediction on the third place game. Though it has predicted Germany to win the world cup. will refrain from making any predictions here. We do not want to know who wins in advance do we 😛