Saturday, July 12, 2014

WC 2014 Final: Great Germany on Path to Glory

The World Cup Final on Sunday will reunite the 2 teams that have left the best impression in Brazil for the past month; Germany and Argentina both deserve to play the final for the right to be called world champions.

The last time the World Cup was organized in South America, i.e, in 1986 in Mexico, the final pitted Diego Maradona's Argentina against Matthaus' Germany. The Argies edged that one. Four years later in Italy, the Germans got their measure of revenge by winning the final by the minimum margin. One of Sunday's main questions will be whether Messi can finally emulate Maradona in winning the Cup, the ultimate validation left on his resume before being called the greatest player the world has ever seen. Without it, there will always be doubters no matter how many trophies or personal records he achieves in club football. Pele won it, Maradona too, Messi needs it.

On the way of the diminutive Argentinian are the powerhouse German team, a fantastically well-oiled machine that has left the greatest impression in these finals. This team is comprised of world-class players playing close to the peak of their careers; Lahm, Muller, Neuer, Ozil, Schweinsteiger to name a few, are elite names in European football and their individual qualities have been fantastically molded into a strong, effective and indomitable German juggernaut. Such is the power of their play and current level of confidence that they invariably dictate play like no other team and are malleable enough to change their system based on the way the match is developing; during this tournament, they showed they can score first, level the score, or win matches when the chips are on the line. Keeper Neuer is a freak, a massive presence, most possibly the best keeper in the world today. The defence is solid with the likes of Hummels, Boateng and Lahm commanding respect from the best strikers. Their midfield screams top-class with Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Gotze, Khedira all able to dictate tempo; and let's not forget Marco Reus, the genius from Dortmund is not even playing in these finals. Muller and Klose lead the way up front and have been terrorizing defences since the start of the tournament. This is the golden generation playing for Germany.

Argentina are an excellent team with some great players like Di Maria, Higuain and Aguero but undoubtedly their lifeblood is Messi. Take Messi out of the team and this team loses any aura of invincibility that it might have portrayed. They become a very good, but beatable team. To beat the Germans, they will need at least 3 things; first, Messi to be on top of his game and not be a passive player as he's been in the past 2 games; second, Mascherano, one their best players since the tournament started and who made a fantastic last-ditch save against a sure Robben goal in the last match, needs to keep breaking plays in midfield and keep the defence tight when needed; third, Aguero and Higuain will need to show efficacy in front of goal and take whatever goal opportunities that the Germans might present to them. It looks a tall order for Argentina but with some luck, they should believe that they can overcome their under-dogs tag.

The Germans are not invincible; Bayern Munich, the nucleus of this team, were stunned by Chelsea in the UCL final a couple of years back when they were overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy on home soil. For all their power, they will also need some luck to win. Chances are that they won't freeze on the occasion but they still need to break an Argentinian defence that has not conceded goals in their two knock-out matches. They still need to nullify the greatest threat in football; Messi.

I believe they will do it; the Germans will win it. From what we've seen for the past month, Germany have been the best team by far. The sight of German captain Lamn lifting the most-coveted trophy in sports at the Maracana on Sunday will be one of the most-deserving.

Win WC 2014: Germany

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