2014 FIFA World Cup Final

Germany vs. Argentina: Breaking Down Everything at Stake in World Cup Final

BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - JULY 08:  Sami Khedira of Germany celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their fifth goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2014

If you think a World Cup title will be the only thing on the line when Germany face Argentina on Sunday in the final, think again. 

There are historical implications. Legacies will be defined. Awards hang in the balance. Bragging rights between familiar foes at this competition are there for the taking. 

Yes, the primary goal is to win the World Cup title. But there is far more at stake than just that. 

 

For Germany

With a victory, Germany would tie Italy for second-place all-time in World Cup titles, with four. It would also end a 24-year drought at the tournament, which includes a runner-up finish at the 2002 tournament and third-place finishes in 2006 and 2010. 

Add in a third-place finish at the 2012 Euros and a runner-up finish in 2008 at that tournament, and you can see why the Germans are trying to shed the "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" reputation they've built for themselves in recent years.

They're also trying to become the first European club to ever win a World Cup on South American soil, no small feat. 

Oh, and there is the small little fact that Germany and Argentina have met twice in a World Cup final, splitting those titles. Surely, Germany would love to have the edge.

 

For Argentina

Of course, Argentina would likely enjoy having that edge over the Germans as well.

Not only that, but a victory would be Argentina's third World Cup title, tying them with the Germans and moving them into a tie for third place behind Brazil (five) and Italy (four). And it would be their first since 1986. Not only that, but this is the first time the Argentines have made it past the quarterfinals since 1990, when they finished as runners-up. 

So yes, this title would be a huge deal for a country that has been in a bit of a World Cup drought over the past 24 years, at least by their own standards.

Plus, there would be something immensely satisfying for the Argentines if they could win the title in the Maracana, the iconic stadium of their bitter rivals, the Brazilians. A World Cup title is sweet enough by itself, but winning it on the soil of your rivals?

That's a special kind of sweet.

 

For Individual Players

For starters, quite a few awards are still there for the taking. The Golden Glove, given to the best keeper, could very well be given to Costa Rica's Keylor Navas. But both Germany's Manuel Neuer and Argentina's Sergio Romero are in the running, and a big performance by either could net them the honor.

The Golden Boot, given to the leading goalscorer, is also up for grabs. While James Rodriguez currently leads all scorers with six goals, Thomas Mueller will go into the final with five goals, while Lionel Messi has four. Should Mueller tie with Rodriguez, he would win the award since he has one more assist, while Messi currently trails Rodriguez by an assist. 

Were Mueller to win the award, it would be the second World Cup in a row he's accomplished the feat. How impressive is that? He's only 24 years old and potentially has two more World Cups left in his career. Pretty amazing stuff.

FILE PHOTO - EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image Numbers 451925716 (L) and 451525030) In this composite image a comparison has been made between Lionel Messi of Argentina and Thomas Mueller of Germany. Germany and Argentina play each other in th
Getty Images/Getty Images

The Golden Ball, given to the best player, has a slew of finalists participating in the final. Germans under consideration include Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Mueller, while the Argentines in the running include Angel Di Maria (perhaps the most surprising on the list), Javier Mascherano and Messi

But there are also legacies on the line, namely that of Messi. With a World Cup title, he will have literally won pretty much everything in his career there is to win and can finally come out from under the shadow of Diego Maradona in his home country. 

If Messi wins a World Cup title, there can be no more objections to his name being compared to the other greats in the game when the conversation of the best footballers in history is raised. He should be in that conversation anyway, but a victory on Sunday will seal his place in the game's lore. 

 

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