For a third time, we have a final between Germany and Argentina, which will end a fantastic World Cup between two sides that probably represent a different approach and had different paths to make the final. There’s more than just Lionel Messi to Argentina, but he still draws almost all of the attention. With Germany, you don’t really know where the goals will be coming from.
Although it’s not that difficult to know. Thomas Muller, maybe on his way to finish as the top scorer in the World Cup again (needs one more goal to tie with James Rodriguez who has six), has scored three of Germany’s six opening goals in the tournament. A player with incredible off the ball movement and a sense for positioning can’t be marked by just one player (probably Marcos Rojo), and it will take a big effort from a defense that has been surprisingly good so far in the tournament, not conceding a single goal in the knockout stage.
The focus will be on Lionel Messi for Germany, even if he did close to nothing in the semifinal against the Dutch and had two more moments of brilliance as Argentina skipped by Switzerland and Belgium. However, Germany don’t play as tight on defense as other teams, which means there might be some openings for Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio, who will all feature at one stage or another.
Four years ago Germany ran all over an Argentina side that was managed by a legend, but someone who has no business being a head coach. The Sabella team is very different. It’s far from brilliant nad its offensive potency is only about Lionel Messi and Angel di Maria who won’t be playing, but there seems to be a very different mental strength to them. Maybe it’s the fact that Javier Mascherano sets the tone and plays in his natural position unlike the way he does for Barcelona. Argentina have yet to fall behind in a match in this tournament.
Germany have been behind once, in the draw with Ghana, until Miroslav Klose scored to tie the match. Maybe starting with him isn’t the best of solutions for Joachim Low. Andre Schurrle scored a hat trick against Brazil and although that match wasn’t an indication for anything, he might be the “hot hand” right now. Low has made changes to his lineups from time to time, and maybe giving Argentina a more mobile trio to deal with could be a better idea.
Germany are favorites to come through with the title for a fourth time. Argentina might have made some impressive defensive stands, but it’s hard to say they’ve been impressive as a team. But there’s no deserve in this, it’s only about doing enough to win. Germany right now look like the team with more tools to win this match, but Argentina can drag this match into something very different, where all of Germany’s advantages disappear.