Although Germany and Argentina took different paths to get to this point, they will now battle each other for the 2014 World Cup trophy.
Argentina have emerged victorious from all of their matches in the tournament, but they have yet to win by more than a single goal. In the semifinals, they just about scraped through against the Netherlands after penalty kicks.
On the other hand, Germany have been up and down on the pitch over the past month. After beating Portugal 4-0 in their opening match, they were less than impressive en route to the semifinals, when they truly shined with a shocking 7-1 win over Brazil.
The two teams have different styles, and they each know that one win can bring them the biggest prize in the sport. There is certain to be plenty of excitement throughout the match, so make sure you do not miss any of the action.
Who will win?
When: Sunday, July 13
Where: Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time: 3 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. BST
Live Stream: ESPN3
Odds (via OddsShark.com): Argentina (+254), Germany (+132), Draw (+228)
Top Players to Watch
Lionel Messi, Argentina
There is little argument that Lionel Messi is at least one of best players, if not the best player in the world. He scored four goals in his first three matches in Brazil, helping Argentina win its group with a flawless record.
The problem is that he has slowed down his production lately, failing to score in any of the past three matches. Against the Netherlands, he was shadowed completely by Nigel de Jong and others to ensure that he did not have any room to make things happen.
Still, we have seen throughout his career that he does not need much help to score. He has even been quite impressive as a distributor in this tournament, according to Squawka Football:
No matter who is playing beside him, Messi has the ability to create opportunities and win matches on his own. This is something Germany must be aware of throughout the upcoming battle if they want to come away with a win.
Toni Kroos, Germany
The most impressive part of Germany's run to the final is that there has not been one player standing above the rest.
Thomas Mueller has been truly incredible, registering five goals and three assists, with Philipp Lahm, Mats Hummels and Miroslav Klose among the others who have stepped up at different points.
However, the true breakout star of this tournament has to be Toni Kroos. The midfielder has three assists in six matches, as well as two goals that came in a three-minute stretch against Brazil.
Janusz Michallik of ESPN discusses the 24-year-old player's performance:
Toni Kroos with an exceptional World Cup, tactically and otherwise.— Janusz Michallik (@JanuszESPN) July 8, 2014
While Kroos has been solid defensively, he is making a real impact on the attack with his ability to find his teammates all over the pitch. Goal India provided Klose's opinion on his teammate:
As long as Kroos continues to play at this level, Germany will be tough to beat.
There are a lot of things to watch for in this thrilling match, but the top storyline is outlined by Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph:
Messi will have the ability to make plays along with Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, and he will have a good chance of at least getting one goal.
However, even Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella knows that this will be a tough match due to the lack of rest for his team, via FIFA.com:
We'll see if it's a minor issue, the fact we played after and the Germany game was decided in the first 45 minutes, so they could ease off in the second half, whereas we had to spend all the effort, and every last drop of sweat to reach the World Cup final.
Germany also have more depth, and forwards such as Klose, Mueller and Schurrle will allow them to rotate around and have fresh legs toward the end of the match. Midfielders Mesut Ozil, Mario Goetze and Kroos have shown the versatility to succeed as well.
The European squad has simply been too tough to stop and Argentina will not fare too much better. The Germans will find a way to get a few shots into the net and secure the title.
Prediction: Germany 2-1 Argentina
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