A month on from the start of the 2014 World Cup, Germany and Argentina will play out the showpiece final in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.
Germany are 90 minutes away from claiming a fourth World Cup following a series of close calls at recent tournaments, while Argentina are hoping to stage a party on the home soil of their archrivals Brazil.
It may take extra time and penalties, but one these teams will have their name etched into history by Sunday night.
Here's the lowdown on the final.
Date: Sunday, July 13, 2014
Time: 4 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. BST
Where: Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Odds: Germany 11-10, Argentina 5-2, per Odds Shark
After thrashing Brazil, 7-1, in their previous match—the semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday—the Germans go into the final as clear favourites at 11-10, per Odds Shark.
Their opponents, Argentina, laboured to a penalty-shootout victory against the Dutch and, having played a tougher match and an extra 30 minutes of football, they also have a day less to recover before the final.
However, Germany have not been installed as favourites on the back of one result—as stunning as it was.
A quick look at the stats show that Joachim Low's team lead Argentina in almost every department. The Germans have scored nine goals more than the eight Jose Pekerman's side have managed, per WhoScored.com, and have outplayed them in terms of possession (59.4 percent to 58.5 percent) and passing accuracy (86.4 percent to 85.9 percent), too.
However, in a one-off match, the form book can count for little. So who are expected to be the main protagonists at the Maracana?
The Key Men
For Argentina, it has to be Lionel Messi. The Barcelona forward has scored half of his nation's goals at these finals and is 9-2, per Oddschecker, to score the first goal against Germany.
Operating through the middle, behind a lone striker, the four-time World Player of the Year is beginning to replicate his club form with Barcelona for his national team.
As well as leading his team in scoring, he also dribbles the ball more than any other player, averaging 6.5 per game—closely followed by Angel di Maria with five, per WhoScored.com.
And he is only getting better, as WhoScored tweets:
If Low sticks with his semi-final line-up it will likely be Bastian Schweinsteiger who is detailed with nullifying the threat of Messi.
The Bayern Munich midfielder's defensive stats might not be anything to get excited about, but the last time the duo met, in the Champions League in 2013, it was Schweinsteiger's side that came out on top. Bayern Munich beat Messi's Barcelona, 7-0, over two legs.
While Miroslav Klose might be the all-time leading scorer in World Cup history with 17 goals, it is Thomas Mueller who is the enigmatic forward in the German side, and he's also 9-2, per Oddschecker, to open the scoring.
Mueller won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup and has scored five times at these finals, per the BBC. He is just one strike behind Colombia's James Rodriguez, and if he can score in the final he would land another top scorer award due to his superior tally of three assists.
The lanky 24-year-old plays on the right of a front three, but his style and role in the team are difficult to define. Speaking ahead of the semi-final, Schweinsteiger said Brazil defender Dante might have an advantage as he knows what all his Bayern Munich teammates in the Germany side might do, apart from one...
"Well, except for Thomas Muller; with him no one ever knows what's coming," Schweinsteiger is quoted as saying, per The New York Times' Andrew Das.
One thing that we can predict is that Sunday's final is one not to be missed.
These two teams have met 20 times and have scored 28 goals apiece, per FIFA.com. Their head-to-head clashes include two World Cup finals, with Argentina winning 3-2 in 1986 and Germany gaining revenge with a 1-0 win in 1990.
But going on current form, Germany should edge this one.
Prediction: Germany to win 2-1
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