After nearly a month in Brazil the stage is now set. Only two teams remain, Argentina v Germany. The might of Germany who have been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament against Argentina and the might of one man that is Lionel Messi. Who will take the spoils on the 13th July 2014 at Estádio Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Here is the lowdown on the two remaining teams and what we can expect for the final.
Both have endured and emerged from early struggles in the world cup tournament, but their ability to stand strong has set them apart. Germany threw away a lead and very nearly lost to Ghana in the group stages before being taken to extra time by Algeria which many thought would not happen. Argentina were taken to the wire by Iran, Switzerland and Holland. Given the manner of their victories in the semi-finals, Joachim Löw's team will go into the final the more confident mood. The motivation of winning the World Cup on Brazilian soil combined with the vast Argentinian presence in Rio de Janeiro may spur them on to an unlikely victory with a packed Maracana with the south americans coming together to cheer the Argies on. They also have Lionel Messi. Messi was subdued effectively by Holland and is yet to score in the knockout stages of this - or any other - World Cup, but he still carries the greatest and most obvious threat for Argentina. His impact was extremely limited in the semi-final and, with little other attacking threat for the Dutch to worry about, he was the focus of their attentions. It has taken a few moments of magic from Messi to win a few of their matches so far at this tournament, often when opponents tire and lose their grip on him. Another key factor, however, is the presence of Angel Di María.
The Germany team boasts two of the 12 players who have made it to double figures in World Cup goals, with all-time leading scorer Miroslav Klose likely to play through the middle, supported by Thomas Müller. Their possession-based game has been criticised in some quarters for a lack of incisiveness and effectiveness, particularly after the capitulation of Spain's title defence. They have fantastically gifted passers who are perfect for trying to work the ball into the box against a team with a deep block and it is no wonder that such a high proportion of their attempts at goal (68%) have come from inside the area. With the line being led by Klose, who has scored all 16 of his World Cup goals from inside the box, they have the perfect apex to their exceptional attack.
Lets see how the two teams got to the final:
Rightly favourites to lift the trophy, Germany have all the ingredients required to find a way through a stubborn Argentina backline. For Sabella's men it will be a question of holding out for as long as possible and hoping to nick a winner on the break. As Brazil showed this week, that isn't as simple as it sounds. The stage is set for a great encounter from these two teams and we are hoping for a great game of football and plently of goals but this is usually not the case in World Cup finals.
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