Yesterday we witnessed Thomas Müller and Germany absolutely destroy 2014 World Cup host Brazil in their semifinal matchup 7-1. For Lionel Messi and Argentina, it took a scoreless 120 minutes and penalty kicks to surpass the Netherlands on their way to the final. Having personally seen Germany play live vs the United States and having watched just about every single game of this World Cup, I feel obligated to provide you with some insight into Sunday’s World Cup Final match.
In their first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Germany blew out Portugal. While Pepe’s red card had his team playing short-handed for a good portion of the match, this game was never in doubt. Germany was clearly the better team, and seemed invincible. That is, until they played Ghana in their 2nd match. I watched this game from a bar at the Praya Shopping Mall in Natal, Brazil in a setting where both Ghana and Germany fans filled up the room. The German fans were smug, writing off Ghana from the beginning. After losing to the US, Ghana fans were desperate for points, and their players played like it. After scoring the first goal of the match, Germany soon found themselves tied with Ghana, then down 2-1. They would score again to secure the draw, but the once invincible Germans suddenly seemed beatable.
I bring up these two games because as German fans and their players are on the highest of highs after their 7-1 drubbing of Brazil, they must be weary of what being over-confident has already done to them in this tournament. While I’m sure they’ll be better prepared for Argentina than they were Ghana, they must remember how costly taking any team lightly can be. If the pattern of dominating one game and looking vulnerable the next continues, Germany is in trouble.
Messi & Co. had pretty weak competition in the group stage, moving on to the elimination Round 0f 16 with 9 points. While they have yet to show any signs of dominance like the German squad has, Argentina has never trailed at any point in the 2014 World Cup as they’ve cruised to the final match. While I enjoyed watching James (pronounced Ha-mes) of Colombia go on a scoring spree, Neymar seemingly score at will until his back was broken, and Mueller net 5 goals, Lionel Messi has been the best player at the 2014 World Cup. His 4 goals have been masterful, and he’s been even better when not shooting the ball. Every time he gets possession, he immediately commands 2, sometimes 3 defenders, and he is incredibly aware of where his teammates are on the pitch. He is the best player in the world, and he’s finally showing it on the biggest stage.
The Argentina defense is incredibly strong, and it helps having two players on the same team at the club level anchoring it. Man City’s Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis have been fantastic at this World Cup, and I doubt either of them will lose their man like the sieve that was Brazil’s back line. I just hope Argentina is more inclined to attack in the final than they were against Netherlands, as they seemed more focused on not conceding any goals rather than scoring them.
Prediction: Germany 2 – Argentina 1
I predict Germany will trail early 1-0 vs Argentina in the World Cup Final, only to rally and score consecutive goals for a 2-1 victory. The Germans are a well-oiled machine with stars all over the field. It is extremely difficult for European teams to win in South America, but the German squad has found a way to score goals at an incredible rate in this World Cup when they need them. Messi will tally his 5th goal of the tournament, and Müller will share the golden boot with Colombia’s James as he gets 1 more as well.