Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 World Cup Final Preview: Germany vs. Argentina in a Match for the Ages

This Sunday will provide one of the greatest soccer matches of all time, the 2014 World Cup!  With two heavyweight soccer nations of Germany and Argentina providing the display, fans around the globe should expect a fantastic show.  Both teams are fully stocked with top professionals and have performed very well at international tournaments historically.  For the fortunate winners, the players will be thrust into immortality as their country celebrates yet another World Cup trophy!

Germany has certainly caught the eye with their amazing 7-1 victory over the hosts Brazil.  They dominated the game outright and showed why your best hopes in playing against the Germans is to defend hard, not to try and attack with numbers.  Argentina, quite fortunately, has taken the more cautious approach with a defensive mindset, and their impressive defensive performances suggest they’ll be a stern test for the Germans.  They have yet to concede a single goal since the knockout rounds began, including two clean sheets against the potent offenses of Belgium and the Netherlands.

The key figure in this final will be Lionel Messi of Argentina.  He has won everything possible for a footballer, except the World Cup, and unfortunately that is simply the most important trophy around.  Unless he wins this game, he may never be held in the same regard as his compatriot Diego Maradona, who brought the nation to glory in 1986.  While critics moaned about the team’s over-reliance upon Messi in the opening rounds, his fellow teammates have stepped up in the recent games.

For the Germans, the side is all about cohesion and team unity, which functions like well-oiled German sports car on the Autobahn.  The star player here will be Thomas Muller, who has 5 goals in the World Cup and seemingly always plays the right way.  He isn’t about nifty moves and trickery like Messi though.  Instead he simply gets the ball and plays direct.  He has the natural instinct to find the open chance and has the know-how to score on a regular basis. 

But Messi is on another level, and this is why I fully believe that Argentina will win the World Cup.  Messi has the ability to make magic and create the golden chance all by himself.  Where as Muller has the greatest supporting cast any front man could ask for, Messi is the type of player that can do it alone, though his teammates are pretty talented as well.

Argentina has reached this World Cup final through hard-fought closely contested matches while Germany is coming off of one of the best matches in their history in the win over Brazil.  I sense a little bit of over-confidence and arrogance coming from the Germans, who will now fully expect to win.  Argentina won’t open themselves up like Brazil did.  Instead, they’ll soak in the pressure and hope to get the ball up front to Messi.  Against any defender in the world, I like Messi’s chances, especially with history and a hopeful nation upon his back.  Messi will score the goal and the game will end 1-0.
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