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1. END OF THE LINE: It’s all come down to this – Germany and Argentina will face off in the 2014 World Cup final on Sunday (12 pm ET, ABC), with the Germans looking to join Italy with four titles, and Argentina looking to match their adversaries with three.
As far as Spanish-language coverage of the final goes, look no further than FutbolMLS.com. In this week’s Tiro Libre podcast, the gang analyzed the two contrasting semifinals, looking at the reasons behind Brazil’s shocking loss, and the hard work Argentina has done to make their first final in 24 years, as well as what might be in store on Sunday.
2. AN OLD ENEMY: Argentina have had some recent troubles with Germany in World Cup play, with the European side knocking out the South Americans in each of the last two World Cups, and defeating them in the 1990 final.
Albiceleste head coach Alejandro Sabella acknowledged this, and the difficult circumstances facing Argentina in having played a day later than Germany, in the buildup to Sunday’s final.
“Germany is always a difficult stumbling block, we’ll see if it is a small detail or not of that they played a day earlier, and the game was decided in the first half. We couldn’t control anything [in that regard], he have to play to the last drop of sweat,” was Sabella’s rallying cry earlier this week.
He also had praise for his German adversaries after their dismantling of Brazil on Tuesday.
“I have admiration [for Germany]. They have always demonstrated great physical and tactical ability, and mental strength,” he said. “It’s a first-world country that knows what it is to work in the medium and long term, that knows what organization is.
“It will be an absolutely difficult match and the fact that we have played two periods of extra time (in this tournament), we have to rest, recuperate and enjoy a little bit of what these players deserve and we’ll see what happens on Sunday.”
3. EXPLAINING THE UNEXPLAINABLE: Whatever Sabella’s worries, at least they’re in the final. Brazil were not so lucky after suffering a brutal 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany, with Toronto FC’s Julio Cesar in net. The goalkeeper was lost for words after the defeat.
“Explaining the unexplainable is very difficult. We have to recognize the great game that the Germans played, they’re a team that has played together for six years and have great characteristics.
“Our team had a ‘blackout,’ nobody expected it, but you have to congratulate German soccer and that’s it. Now we have to return to our homes and hug our families, because I’m sure they are hurting from this.”
4. I'M A MAN ON FIRE: No one’s hotter in MLS right now than Chivas USA forward Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, who has scored four goals in his last four games to give his team 10 points from that span of games. He was quick to credit the work of coach Wilmer Cabrera for his and the team’s success in an interview with FutbolMLS.com’s Jad El Reda.
“Little by little we have been getting better and the work of the technical staff can be seen. The guys feel better, with lots of confidence in making the fans in L.A. happy. We want to get ourselves into the playoffs, that’s the idea. The idea of making the postseason is not far-fetched.”
He also discussed his stoppage-time, game-winning bicycle kick against the Montreal Impact, in no uncertain terms.
“The goal against the Impact was, for me, one of the most beautiful goals I’ve scored in my career.”
The council of the Costa Rican canton of Perez Zeledon, where Navas hails from, voted recently to rename the Estadio Municipal, home of first division side Municipal Perez Zeledon, to the Estadio Keylor Navas Gamboa, after one of the country’s newest heroes.
“The decision to name the stadium after Keylor Navas Gamboa was taken to honor his sporting performance and excellent participation at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil,” Geinier Alvarado, one of the proponents of the change, told Costa Rican media. “He is an example not only for our youth and represents the people of Perez Zeledon.”
The accolades didn't stop there, though. On Friday, Navas was nominated for the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper of the tournament, along with Germany's Manuel Neuer and Argentina's Sergio Romero.