World Cup final preview: Germany vs Argentina
A guide to the most important match of the last four years from FootballTop
Road to the final
Germany crushed Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal 4-0 at the start of the tournament as Thomas Mueller scoring a hat-trick. A modest 2-2 draw with Ghana followed. In the last group match Germany beat Juergen Klinsmann’s USA and finished at the top of the group.
Two narrow victories in play-off followed. In the last 16 it took Die Mannschaft 120 minutes to make it past stubborn Algeria. In the quarters Joachim Low outwitted talented, but vulnerable France. That victory looked so casual that Manuel Neuer’s saves did not look as impressive as they were. And then came the glorious annihilation of the host nation, Brazil. In the match that will be a benchmark of football books Germany netted seven goals past reckless Brazil. They were way superior to their opponents and eased through to the final.
Throughout the tournament Argentina have been making exactly the amount of efforts required to win games, impressed defensively, but lacked inspiration in front despite the presence of the likes of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and other brilliant players. Alejandro Sabella’s men beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1, Iran 1-0, Nigeria 3-2, Switzerland 1-0, Belgium 1-0 and ousted Netherlands in penalty shootout to reach the dream match.
Angel Di Maria, who completed a record 12 shots against Switzerland, was injured during the Belgium match and will likely miss the crucial game. Germany’s only trouble is reserve player Shkodran Mustafi.
Germany manager Joachim Low: “I have no fear whatsoever. We think we can tap into our potential and, if we impose our game, we will win.
“This team is not only Messi; that would be a mistake. Of course, he can decide a match, but they are much more organised.”
Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella called his players for concentration:
“We have to be concentrated. We have to occupy the spaces quickly. We don’t have to take risks with the ball in zones where we can’t. Because Germany are a powerful team both physically and tactically, with a lot of character. This is why they, along with Brazil and Italy, have more titles than anyone else, as well as playing more finals than anyone.”
The teams have met many times, but Germany won the most important one, the 1990 final and the last one in South Africa four years ago, thrashing Argentina by 4-0.
Germany: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Hoewedes, Kroos, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Scuerrle, Mueller.
Argentina: Romero, Rojo, Garay, Demichelis, Zabaleta, Mascherano, Biglia, Perez, Messi, Aguero, Higuain.
Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will serve the final.
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