FIFA World Cup 2014: Argentina and Germany will renew their rivalry in the final
The finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be an Inter-Continental clash between European giants Germany and their South American counterpart Argentina after the latter edged past Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in the 2nd semi-final of the FIFA World Cup. The two soccer crazy nations would have to live up to an enormously challenging legacy of Argentine-German football when they face each other in the finals to be held in Rio at the Estadio do Marcana on Sunday.
Both Germany and Argentina would be quite happy to be playing each other at this stage of tournament since both the sides’ last World Cup triumph occurred while playing against one another.
Argentina’s second and last success in the FIFA World Cup came in the year 1986 when they defeated Germany 3-2 in the finals held in Estadio Azteca, Mexico City. While the Argentines led that game for quite some time with a two goal lead, the Germans struck back twice to level the score-line but eventually the Albiceleste managed to book a place in history with a winner in the 84th minute.
An old rivalry renewed
As they take on the Germans this Sunday, their current squad would definitely look back to 1986 for inspiration. Another huge boost for Argentina would stem from the fact that they have amongst themselves Lionel Messi who is unarguably the greatest Argentine player since Diego Maradona. His attempt would certainly be to firmly establish the legacy of the “Messi-era” with a victory in the finals of 2014 FIFA World Cup, pretty much on the lines of Maradona’s genius in 1986.
As Germany struggle to win their first World Cup title following the unification of West and East Germany, they too would travel down memory lane all the way back to 1990 when a late penalty in the 85th minute enabled Franz Beckenbauer-managed West Germany to defeat Argentina 1-0 in the final match played inside the Stadio Olimpico, Rome. Secondly, in recent times, Germany have had an impeccable record against Argentina, whom they beat 4-0 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Before that in 2006 when the Germans played hosts to the soccer carnival, they were lucky enough to scrape past Argentina 4-2 on penalties after having maintained a score-line of 1-1 throughout the match. The twin victories that they enjoyed over Argentina in the two previous World Cup campaigns will hugely boost the morale and confidence of the Philip Lahm led side.
Germany who are in search of their fourth World Cup crown are statistically well placed to execute the same as both Brazil and Italy won their fourth World Cup title after a gap of 24 years and currently Germany are 24 years separated from their last World Cup win.
Current form and chances of winning
But the most important question is: What does one infer from the current form of both the sides and who will be assuming the pitch as favourites come this Sunday? Following their annihilation of the host country Brazil, Germany would undoubtedly be heading to Rio as the team to beat. Joachim Loew’s team has had a relatively easy march till the finals. While they beat Algeria 2-1 after extra time during their Round of 16 match, they comfortably managed to better France 1-0 and humiliated Brazil 7-1.
Argentina on the other hand were taken to extra time in two out of their three knockout matches, and last night’s semi-final against Netherlands went all the way to the penalty shootout. Unfortunately for them, Messi has been far from his best in the previous couple of matches and Argentina’s supporters would definitely want him to dazzle in the finals just as he did during the group stage.
Lastly and most importantly, no matter who others support in the finals between Germany and Argentina, it would be very interesting to see whom the local Brazilians cheer for. Will they cheer for their biggest rivals in South America or will they support the side which handed them their biggest defeat in nearly a century? Well come Sunday all such questions will be answered.