The Brazilian hearts will sink as Argentina and Germany run out on Maracana pitch today at 20.00 UK time to play the 2014 World Cup finals. The Germans are favored to win it after their impressive display against Brazil, and defensive Argentina can only hope Lionel Messi can follow Maradona's footsteps and bring them the title against Germany like Maradona did in 1986.
From 1974 to 1990, in five World Cups during that period, the final would see either Argentina or Germany, with the 1986 and 1990 finals seeing these two teams fight for the title. In 1986 Argentina won it 3-2, and four years later the teams met again and Germany won 1-0. Since Maradona retired, Argentina have been absent from semifinals and this is their first good World Cup performance in 24 years. The Germans aren't in a different situation as since national reunification they have only won one European Championship, in 1996 in England, coming close to the World title in 2002 but losing the final to Brazil. All the World Cup titles were won by West Germany, and Germany haven't got a single one. They're still in the shadow of the West German team which dominated the globe decades ago.
Argentina haven't been spectacular but they also haven't conceded a single goal in the knockout stage so far, and haven't lost a match in this tournament. Argentina deserve credit for playing good defence, and Javier Mascherano is the key man in this part of the Argentinian team. In offense, there is very little risk, and the general idea is for Angel Di Maria to deliver the ball to Lionel Messi and try to score the goal with three or four players finishing off the attacks. This is not what people expected from Argentina but it works, they've reached the final, and with Messi they got a player who can break the deadlock anytime.
Germany are different, they owe their success so far to fantastic offensive movement. The Germans don't dribble, but instead move around expertly exploiting open space. That's how they scored seven against Brazil, just by routinely doing what they usually do. The German machine does it that way, effortlesly grinding down the opponent, but there have been matches in this World Cup where they couldn't to what they want because the opponent deprived them of space. They didn't score in regular time against Algeria, they scored only once against USA, and were struggling to control the match against Ghana. Germany can be stopped, but one lapse in concentration is enough to give them the victory.
Nicola Rizzoli from Italy will be the referee, and he already officiated two Argentina's match in this tournament. He is a quality referee and we can expect the final to be perfect in this aspect.
Argentinian fans will invade Maracana, but the Brazilian ones who bought the tickets for the final expecting the hosts to be there will definitely give loud support to Germany. The Brazilians don't want Argentina to win the World title on a stadium which is the spiritual home of their football. They're dreading such a scenario and will support the Germans.
So far, European nations have failed to win the title on South American soil, and if Germany win it, that would be the first.
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