After a month of thrilling, nail-biting, tension-filled soccer, we finally have the two teams who will take the field at Maracanã hoping to lift the trophy and bring joy to everyone in their country.
Germany are coming off of one of the most shocking matches in world football history, demolishing Brazil 7-1 in Belo Horizonte. This will be their eighth appearance in the World Cup final, most of any nation. They are hoping to win their fourth World Cup title.
On the other side, Argentina will be making their fifth appearance in a World Cup Final. To get to this one, they had to slog through three extremely tight games. They have scored just two goals in the knockout round so far, relying on their team defense and goalkeeper to advance.
RUBBER MATCH: This will not be the first time these two countries meet in a World Cup final. In fact, it will be their third go-round. Germany (then West Germany) and Argentina met in the final of two consecutive World Cups in 1986 and 1990. Each team took away the trophy once, with Argentina winning in 1986 and Germany lifting the trophy in 1990. Which nation will have bragging rights after this game?
MAN VS. MACHINE: Argentina are still powered by one man, despite the fact he hasn't scored in the knockout stage yet. He also happens to be the best player in the world. Can Lionel Messi finally cement his legacy and take his place next to Diego Maradona with a victory in Brazil? Not if Germany have anything to say about it. They have used a more team-centric approach to reach the final, with seven different players scoring in this World Cup.
It really will be "Messi vs. The Machine": One man vs. 14 of the best players in the world working as one. Can't wait.— Cody Sharrett (@CodySharrett) July 9, 2014
LÖW FINAL TOUCH: After not earning a point at the 2000 Euros, Germany decided to revamp their entire football structure. They decided to completely redo the way they develop their young players, and it has reaped dividends. Joachim Löw has steered the ship since Jurgen Klinsmann’s departure in 2006, and led the team to four straight semifinal appearances in major tournaments. Can he finally claim the title that has eluded his grasp?
SABELLA SWAN SONG: Alejandro Sabella has taken a lot of flak for his team’s performances in this World Cup due to their lack of creativity despite some extremely talented players. What he has done well is his keep his side organized and willing to defend. Argentina have not conceded a goal in any of their knockout-round matches due to some tactical and personnel changes. Sabella will retire after this game no matter the result, but will he go out on top?
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Toward the end of the match between Brazil and Germany, something weird began to happen. The Brazilian fans started ole-ing Germany’s passes. Whether it was out of respect for the excellent German team or simply trying to get a rise out of their own team, it was plain to hear that there was no ill will towards the German side. Expect the Brazilian cheers to be even louder for Die Mannschaft as they will be playing Brazil’s biggest rivals.
Brazilians in my timeline changing their profile pics. If any indication, expect pro-German crowd in Rio pic.twitter.com/cejlEbUen0— Alex O (@tempofreesoccer) July 11, 2014
THE STAR YOU KNOW
- Lionel Messi, forward, Argentina – He has won many championships with Barcelona, but can the Rosario native finally earn the love from his fellow countrymen?
THE PLAYER WHO WILL SURPRISE YOU
- Benedikt Höwedes, defender, Germany – He will have his hands full with Messi preferring to drift to his right, but don’t expect the natural center back to have any fear.