This is it—World Cup final time.
Thirty-two teams kicked off the tournament in Brazil one month ago, but now, just two remain—both potentially just a few hours away from football’s most-coveted prize.
Germany and Argentina, two of international football’s titans, face off at the famous Estadio do Maracana on Sunday, and here, we take a look at the match odds and predict how it could play out in Rio de Janeiro.
|2014 World Cup Final Odds|
|Final||Home Odds||Draw Odds||Away Odds|
|Germany vs. Argentina||129-100||9-4||263-100|
Trophy No. 4 on the Way for Germany
No disrespect to Argentina, but just how is it possible to stop this Germany team?
Though three-time champions, the Germans remain the World Cup’s nearly men, having reached at least the semi-finals in the three tournaments prior to Brazil’s instalment.
This year’s different, though, as Joachim Low has put together the kind of side that can go the extra mile and lift the trophy; and if you need any evidence of that, just watch their thrashing of Brazil in the semi-final again.
Brazil were far from impressive as the host nation, sure, but few could have expected just how much of a thrashing they were going to endure against the Germans.
The scary thing for Argentina fans is, the 7-1 scoreline was rather generous on Brazil in the end, as Germany possibly deserved a bit more from the game.
Even the Brazilian fans accepted just how good Low’s men were, with Oliver Holt of the Mirror reporting that some supporters had switched allegiances:
It’s hardly surprising, though, as Germany have undoubtedly played the best football in Brazil and would be worthy winners should they lift the trophy on Sunday.
They’re under no pressure to do so according to midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, too, who said at a press conference that his squad can handle the big occasion—per FIFA.com:
We're looking forward to it. There's huge anticipation and joy. We have no pressure. We have lots of players among the 23 who've played in important finals and we know how to handle that. We have Miroslav Klose, who played in the final in 2002. Other players have played in finals with their clubs and have produced outstanding performances.
We just have to think about the job we have to do. When the referee blows his whistle, we just have to concentrate on what makes us strong. Everything else around the game, we can take it in, but we have to keep it at a distance. Your head must be clear and concentrating only on football.
Germany are the masters of letting their football do the talking, and even an Argentina side with Lionel Messi in their ranks will have a tough time disposing of them.
Likewise with Brazil, the Argentines haven’t exactly lived up to their billing as pre-tournament favourites on the performance front, but fans will be hoping that they’ve saved their best until last—and let’s face it, they’ll need their best against Germany, too.
Once again, Argentina will turn to Messi to fire them to glory, despite the knockout stages not being too kind to him this year.
Though the Barcelona man has four goals in the tournament so far, he’s failed to find the net since the group stage and his performance against Netherlands in the semi-final won’t give Argentina much cause for optimism.
He failed to make an impact against the stubborn Dutch defence, and Ron Vlaar appeared to have full control of Messi for the duration.
However, the 27-year-old is the kind of player that can change a game in an instant, and David Beckham told Adidas football’s YouTube channel that he’s looking forward to seeing him play on the biggest stage of them all—per FIFA.com:
It's just amazing that these two teams have come together. Germany came to the tournament with great experience, people are not too surprised they've got as far as this. There's no particular star, they've just a great group that play well together. Argentina have a group of talented players who play with a lot of passion, but Lionel, I'm just excited to see him play.
Whether or not Messi can hold the World Cup trophy aloft and be considered among the greats of football remains to be seen, but his side certainly require a big step up to make that happen.
Germany’s last World Cup triumph came in 1990 when they beat the Argentinians 1-0 in the final. Another closely fought game is expected at the famous Maracana, but the Germans just have enough to cross the line.
Prediction: Germany 2-1 Argentina