The World Cup Final is one of the most celebrated events in the world of sport. After a grueling four-year journey, where over 200+ nations began their journey towards Brazil, there are now just two nations left: Germany and Argentina.
Germany humiliated World Cup hosts, Brazil, in historic fashion on their way to the final, defeating the beleaguered looking Seleção, 7-1, to secure their ticket to the Maracanã. Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, and Miroslav Klose were instruments of destruction that provoked the implosion of a Brazilian side that had tried to muscle their way to the Final, rather than playing like Brazil.
Argentina has put together a string of remarkable results to make it to the final. After sinking the Oranje in a penalty shooutout in the match leading up to the final, La Albiceleste will be looking for inspiration and leadership from Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano in order to hopefully lift the most sought after trophy in the world of sport at the end of the day.
This is not the first time Argentina and Germany have met in a World Cup Final. The first time La Albiceleste met Die Mannschaft in the Final was at the 1986 World Cup Final in Mexico. Argentina were led to a 3-2 victory over the then West Germans by Diego Maradona, despite heavy marking and tackling on the legendary midfielder from the Germans.
In 1990, the two teams would meet in the Final, yet again, marking the second time two teams had met in the Final during a dominant four year World Cup cycle, with Brazil and Italy doing it first in 1970 and 1974. This time, the Germans would come out victorious, after Andreas Behme converted a controversially called penalty in the 85th minute. Argentina had entered the Final thoroughly weakened, with four players out due to suspensions and two red cards handed out during the game, one to Pedro Monzon in the 65th and one to Gustavo Dezotti in the 87th. These two suspensions meant that Argentina lost over half their squad through the tournament in Italy, through either injury or bookings.
Needless to say, if history has any influence on the 2014 edition of this matchup, it will be a tense, hard-fought, hard-tackling affair. Neither side will be looking to open up too much space for the opposition and both will seek refuge in defenses that have only let in a combined seven goals in a combined 12 games at this World Cup.
It has been 24 years since Germany have lifted the World Cup. It has been 28 years since Argentina has lifted the World Cup. Expect a late winner to break one of those decades long spells without World Cup hardware for one of those two countries.
Angel Di Maria's fitness is still in question, following a thigh injury that kept him out of Argentina's semi-final matchup against the Dutch, meaning that he could take the place of Enzo Perez if he is fit in time. It is likely, though, that the potent Real Madrid attacker will come off of the bench as a subsititute during the Final.
Germany Starting XI: Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Howedes; Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Ozil, Muller; Klose.
Argentina Starting XI: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Perez; Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain.