It’s a World Cup final and for many professional footballers, the biggest game of their lives. In such a game form, past performances and history all go out of the window. What counts is how the team performs on that day, or may be not actually. In fact history suggests that it’s not the best team of the tournament that always wins the World Cup; it’s not even the better team on the day that always wins either. Sometimes luck also plays a part. But keeping aside the external factors, I feel that Germany has better chances of being World Champions in 2014. Here are some of the factors that tilt the scale slightly towards Germany.
This is the 3rd consecutive world cup where Germany and Argentina are meeting (after the group stages). In the last 2 world cups, Germany haveeliminated Argentina from the world cup, including the humiliating 4-0 thrashing in South Africa in 2010. And the core players in the two teams haven’t changed much since. Germany’s recent performances against Argentina in the World Cup will give them confidence whereas the 4-0 may still be playing on the minds of some of the Argentina players.
The road so far
It could also be argued that Argentina has had a simpler road to the final compared to the Germans and they have hardly played teams of outstanding abilities. Yes they did defeat Belgium and Netherland who are no pushovers but it can also be argued that Belgium lacked experience at the bigger stage and Netherland had already punched beyond their weight and finally it needed penalties to beat them. Germany on the other hand has played comparatively tougher opponents – Portugal, France and Brazil in particular and has blown away 2 of them in the first half itself. Germany is coming on the back of strong showing against tough opponents whereas Argentina has had scrappy wins. Surely confidence in the German camp will be sky high.
The complete team
This German team is possibly the most complete team to have ever played in the World Cup finals. There is not even a single area in which you can feel that they are weak. They have 2 world class players for every possible position. Player for player (sans Messi of course) they are better than Argentina in every department. Especially in the middle of the park where the games are generally decided, Germany is far superior. Argentina can’t match the players of the calibre of Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Khedira, Ozil and Gotze.In the attacking positions, Germany’s forwards have consistently been hitting the back of the net whereas Argentina’s forward have been struggling with injuries and indifferent form. The trio of Aguero, Higuain and Di Maria is yet to perform together in a game. Argentina on the other hand is heavily dependent on Leo Messi. And a number of teams have already shown in this World Cup that once Messi is not given the freedom to wield his magic, Argentina struggles a bit. Surely Joachim Low would have noticed that.He would have also made a note of the fact that Messi is yet to score from open play in the knock-outs.
The other key thing about this German side is it’s not tied to a particular style or system of play. Germany is equally adept at keeping the possession or letting opposition keep the ball and play on the counter. Germany is so flexible that they can play through the middle or can use the width of the pitch equally well depending on the situation. As we have seen in this World Cup so far, if Germany scores first, they are so well organized that other teams find it difficult to score against them.Argentina on the other hand is extremely dependent on Messi to score/assist. Of course it’s understandable when you have the world’s best footballer in your ranks, but at the same time it makes Argentina a little more predictable.
Physically better prepared
Another factor that may work in Germany’s favour is that Messi has played every single minute of Argentina’s games including 2 knock outs that went beyond the regulation 90 minutes and is bound to be a bit fatigued.Argentina is coming into this match on the back of a gruelling (physically and emotionally) semi against Netherland. Germany on the other hand has been wrapping up matches well within the regulation time. In fact one could even say that they played just 45 minutes at high tempo against Brazil in the 1st half and the 2ndhalf was more of stroll in the park for them. Add to that, German team have had an additional day’s rest. So physically Germany may be better prepared (and rested) for the final compared to Argentina.
If things don’t work out, there is hardly anybody who can come from the bench for Argentina and make things happen whereas Germany can all upon a number of players to make a difference. In particular Andre Schurrle who has scored most goals of any substitute in this World Cup. And then we haven’t seen much of Gotze, Podolski, Draxleretc yet.
Extra time and beyond
In case the game goes to extra times, I am not so sure whether Argentina will have the physical stamina to keep up the pressure on Germany – as this will be their 3rd game in less than 2 weeks’ timethat would have gone into extra time. Argentina can’t afford to have tired legs (and minds) against playing additional 30 minutes against a well-organized German side. In the event of penalty shoot-out, despite the heroics of Romero against Netherland, I would always put my money on Manuel Neuer.
I expect Germany to score first, which will make Argentina come out and be a bit more open. That will eventually work in favour of Germany who could possibly get a goal or two more. Eventually, Germany will beat Argentina by at least 2 goals margin.