When Germany takes the field against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final on Sunday, they will be under enormous pressure to take the title for the fourth time in their history and tie Brazil’s record. This will be a clash of two of the biggest football titans and it should be epic, but can Germany overcome it all and take it coveted title?
This has been a World Cup of upsets, none greater than that of the host, Brazil, who lost 7-1 in one of the worst defeats of any team of their caliber and many of the heavy favorites have already exited. For Germany, this is it, their chance to prove to their fans and the world that they are the best of the best.
Germany is the favorite against Argentina, that much is apparent, but can they live up to all the hype surrounding their World Cup run? On paper, they are the stronger, dominant team in this clash, however, Argentina showed incredible consistency against another very tough team, the Netherlands and prevailed.
Many can argue that the penalty shootout is a matter of luck and Argentina got lucky when goalkeeper Sergio Romero stopped two of the kicks, including that of star player Wesley Sneijder. Of course, Argentina also has that player by the name of Lionel Messi. Even when he is neutralized by his opponents, Messi manages to become relevant creating scoring opportunities. The best player in the world is not to be dismissed, and Germany knows this.
Argentina has their work cut out for them and they recognize this. Germany appeared to be a machine against Brazil, but was it a case of Brazil falling apart and Germany taking advantage of it? Did they use all of their firing power during that one match? It’s happened before. A team annihilates their rival and can’t find the net the following match. Will Germany be the runner-up again or will they become the first European team to win in South American soil in World Cup history?
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella is cognizant of what his team faces in Sunday’s final against Germany:
“Germany are always a very difficult hurdle to overcome, and even more so when they’ve had the extra day and, indeed, could rein themselves in for the second half last night. We’ve had to expend every drop of energy just to play in the World Cup final. So that is an advantage for them. In 1998 Argentina beat England in extra-time and lost against Holland in the heat of Marseille in the next match, and it harmed us. We have to recover and work to make sure we are ready.”
Believe it or not, in the 20 head-to-heads between both World Cup finalists, Argentina holds a nine to six lead, with five draws. When it comes to goals scored between Germany and Argentina, it’s a dead heat with 28 per side. The last time Germany reached the final was in 2002, where they were denied by Brazil. Argentina’s last appearance in a World Cup final was in 1990, when they lost to then West Germany. Now it’s their chance for revenge.
It will be a tale of two goalies when Germany meets Argentina in the final. The imposing Neuer, who has been nearly impenetrable, with his unusual style of leaving the net and joining his teammates as an 11th player and the impressive Sergio Romero, who stopped not one, but two penalty kicks and carried his team to the last game of the 2014 World Cup.
Germany’s Miroslav Klose has the opportunity to add to his record 16 World Cup goals, but we should also not forget Messi, who, with four goals, could still potentially become the tournament’s top scorer and dethrone the current leader, James Rodriguez of Colombia. We await to see what football history has in store for 2014.
[Image via Twitter]