Sunday 13th July 2014 16:00 LOC / 20:00 BST / Monday 14th July 06:00 AEST
Estadio do Maracana Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mustafi – CB – Injured
Hummels – CB – 70%
Expected Team (4-2-3-1)
Germany have very few injury doubts ahead of the World Cup and should be able to keep the same team that has featured in their last 2 games against France and Brazil.
Mats Hummels is the only real doubt; he has been suffering with a knee injury since before the quarter-final and was forced off at half time against Brazil. This could have been precautionary due to the overwhelming scoreline and if it had been a tighter game he may well have stayed on. General Manager of the team Oliver Bierhoff has said he will be fine to start but if there is any doubt Per Mertesacker could come into the backline.
Miroslav Klose broke the scoring record for most World Cup goals against Brazil and should get the nod to start up front again. Andre Schurrle could rightly claim to be in with a good chance as he scored twice against Brazil after coming on just before the hour but Joachim Low prefers to use him as an impact sub. It would be more likely that he would come in for the ineffective Ozil if they did decide to change things.
Germany must be wary of complacency after the large victory over the hosts filled them with confidence but have a team capable of dominating the game.
Bench (from): Weidenfeller GK, Zieler GK, K. Großkreutz RB/LB/AM, Mertesacker CB, Durm LB, Ginter DM/CB, Kramer DM/CM, Gotze AM/ST, Schurrle AM/ST, Draxler LW/RW/AM, Podolski LW/ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Will be on a huge confidence boost after the victory over Brazil on Tuesday. Could afford to take it easy in the second half and conserve energy along with the extra days’ rest this could prove vital.
Argentina picked up no new injury worries in the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over the Netherlands as they meet Germany for the third time in a World Cup Final (following 1986 & 1990).
Argentinian hopes will rest on their attacking players and Sergio Aguero came off the bench against the Netherlands and looked sharp following a hamstring injury that has kept him out since the final group game. He should start up front alongside Higuaín and in place of Lavezzi.
Enzo Perez should again keep his place in midfield, as Angel Di Maria is likely to be ruled out with a thigh strain. Although officially Argentina are hopeful he will make it, it seems very unlikely given the nature of his injury.
Lucas Biglia started again in midfield against the Netherlands and is favourite to keep his place but Fernando Gago could be brought back in if Argentina prefer his experience in the middle against Germany’s dominant midfield.
Martin Demichelis will keep his place after an outstanding performance in the semi-final, meaning Federico Fernandez will miss out.
Bench (from): Andújar GK, Orion GK, Basanta CB, Campagnaro CB, F. Fernandez CB, Gago DM, Rodriguez RM/AM, A. Fernandez RW, Alvarez AM, Di Maria LW/RW/AM, Lavezzi LW/ST, Palacio LW/ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Argentina may possibly be a fraction tired and bruised after a long encounter with the Netherlands went all the way to penalties. Combined with a days’ less rest compared to the Germans they will have to pick themselves up for the game of their lives. They will be well backed by their travelling support and aim to win their first trophy since 1993.
Football Form Labs Betting Preview: Germany (1) v Argentina (3)
Much like when these sides met in the 1990 final we have a superior German team against an Argentine team that will look to the world’s best player for inspiration. 24 years ago the Germans won 1-0 as Argentina finished the game with nine men and this time around they head into the final as favourites after their demolition of Brazil.
Four years ago Germany thrashed Argentina 4-0 in the quarter-finals but failed to back up that result in the next round as Spain beat them 1-0. In fact since 1990 there have been nine World Cup matches where one side had won by at least three goals in the previous knockout round and seven have lost their next match in 90 minutes (W1-D1-L7). However, the only three matches in that sample from the semi-finals (this will be the first for a final) saw two narrow defeats to higher ranked nations that won the final and one win on penalties before ultimate success in the final.
Germany have won 28 of their last 32 competitive matches with just one defeat and since 2006 they are unbeaten in five competitive games against CONMEBOL nations with four wins. Since 1970 the higher ranked side have W4-D4-L3 in World Cup finals but they did lift the trophy seven times including in five of the last six occasions.
Argentina have reached the final without ever hitting their best form as Lionel Messi has struggled to regularly impose himself on games. With Sergio Aguero having been injured and Angel Di Maria out of the tournament they have struggled for creativity and against a German team that should dominate the midfield we could see that continue. They are on a 12 game unbeaten streak but nine of those games have had fewer than three goals as they’ve kept 10 clean sheets and half the matches have been goalless at half-time.
Argentina are unbeaten in their last 12 matches against UEFA nations but since 1990 they’ve won only one knockout match against European side as they’ve gone W1-D6-L5. Furthermore going back to the 1998 World Cup Argentina have won only one competitive game against teams ranked above them (W1-D5-L6) and you have to go back to 1990 to find the last time they won a knockout game against a higher ranked side – W0-D5- L4 since.
We didn’t like the Netherlands’ chances in the semi after having played extra-time in the previous round and similarly Argentina are disadvantaged here, particularly given they have a day less to prepare. Since 1970 there have been four World Cup finals where just one side had required extra-time in the semis and they have lost 4- 1, 3-1 and 3-0 before Italy managed a draw and triumphed on penalties. The record in WC semi-finals since 1986 of teams in this position is W1-D4-L6 and in the combined 15 match sample there have been seven Draw/Loss doubles as teams have weakened in the second half. In fact 12 of the 15 games have been level at half-time.
Germany are the better team and they’ve won five of their last six competitive games against top-five ranked sides. Their side is more experienced, fresher, has the best goalkeeper in the world, and while Argentina might be able to frustrate them for a while we can’t see them stopping the Germans becoming the first European side to lift the World Cup on South American soil.