After a month’s worth of World Cup action – 62 games in total – we’ve reached the climax. The World Cup Final.
Germany vs. Argentina
When: Sunday, July 13 at 3 PM ET/Noon PT
Where: Estadio do Maracana (“The Maracana”) in Rio De Janeiro (Capacity: 76,804)
TV: ESPN, Univision, and CBUT/CBC
Commentators: Ian Darke, Steve McManaman and Jeremy Schaap (ESPN), Enrique ‘El Perro’ Bermúdez, Luis Omar Tapia, Pablo “La Torre de Jalisco” Ramírez, Diego Balado, Javier Zanetti, Jesús “El Profe” Bracamontes (Univision)
Officials: Nicola Rizzoli, Italy (Referee), Renato Faverani, Italy (Assistant Referee), Andrea Stefani, Italy (Assistant Referee), Carlos Vera, Ecuador (Fourth Official).
Managers: Joachim “Jogi” Low, Germany (54 years old, 75-20-15 as head coach of Germany); Alejandro Sabella, Argentina (59 years old, 26-10-4 as head coach of Argentina).
Argentina – Angel Di Maria, Doubtful (thigh injury). Sergio Aguero, Probable (thigh strain). Pablo Zabaleta, Probable (face injury). Javier Mascherano, Probable (concussion and – you can’t make this up – “torn anus”).
Germany – Mats Hummels, Questionable (knee tendinitis).
How They Got Here
Germany – The Germans didn’t lose in the group stage and emerged with seven points before defeating Algeria 2-1 in extra time in the round of 16 and besting France 1-0 in the quarterfinals. Their semifinal matchup pitted them against the hosts Germany in what was expected to be a great contest. In hindsight, we probably should have expected Germany to win, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the final scoreline, a 7-1 whopper laid on Brazil.
Argentina – The Argentines defeated all three of their group stage opponents by one goal apiece, and would see the same margin lead them to victory in the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinal (Switzerland, AET and Belgium, respectively). Unlike the first semifinal matchup, Argentina’s battle with the Dutch was a display of finely executed tactics in which both teams were able to neutralize their opponent’s star goal scorers for 120 minutes. Argentina were victorious in the spot-kicks, however, taking down the Netherlands 4-2.
What Else You Need To Know:
It’s safe to say that Germany are riding high coming into the Final after their 7-1 dismantling of hosts Brazil in the semi-finals. It would be fairly crazy for anyone to suggest that Germany are not the favorites but it’s the World Cup and anything can happen. Argentina will pose a different kind of competition for the Germans as their defense is much more sound than Brazil’s was and, of course, Argentina has the luxury of running out Lionel Messi. Any team that has Lionel Messi on it has an extraordinary chance to win. For Argentina to overcome the Germans in Rio they will need another world class performance from the Barcelona man. Despite the fact that Argentina will probably also have Higuain and Aguero in the lineup it is Messi who will ultimately decide the fate of the Argentinians. It’ll be interesting to see who the native Brazilians will be rooting for in this one, I would have to say Germany after the appreciation they showed towards them in the semi-final. The most important match ups in this game will most likely come down to the goalkeepers and Mueller vs. Messi. Both goalkeepers have been very strong in this World Cup and will need to be at the top of their game again to lead their team to World Cup glory. The World Cup Final promises to bring a lot of entertainment and nerves, as it always does.
- Dylan: I used a similar process for the semifinals and it proved terribly wrong, but I’m abandoning it yet; I’m going with my heart over my head. Germany has been quite impressive for the most part in this tournament, but I’m going with Argentina in front of what is sure to be an impressive throng of their own supporters. 2-1 my prediction on the scoreline, and it’ll be done in regulation.
- Joe: My heart says Argentina, while my head says Germany. Argentina will almost surely have the advantage of a large number of Argentinian fans in Rio, but Germany has been too impressive throughout the tournament for me to think that they won’t come through when it matters most. I’m going to go with a 2-1 Germany victory in this one.
Settle in, folks. We’ve got at least 90 more minutes of action to enjoy before we say sayonara to Brazil!
– Dylan and Joe
Below you will find links to other sites and publications previews of the final:
- SI.com’s Planet Futbol brings you World Cup Final 101
- Goal.com’s Germany v Argentina Match preview
- Jamie Trecker of Fox Soccer brings this chronicle of the rekindling of fond memories for the World Cup title
- Stephan Uersfeld and Sam Kelly of ESPNFC.com provide us with this look at the 50-50 challenge between Germany and Argentina
- Crippy Cooke of Bleacher Report gives us this A-Z of the World Cup Final
- Also at Bleacher Report, Mark Jones has a look at the head-to-head matchups of the Starting XIs in the World Cup Final
- Alex Muller of WorldSoccerTalk.com posted this Germany v Argentina World Cup Preview
- Nicholas Mendola of ProSoccerTalk has this look at five key things to watch between Argentina and Germany
- Des Bieler of The Washington Post has this preview of the final for Soccer Insider