Sunday July 13, 2014 (4 p.m. EST)
The final game of 2014 World Cup
We made it to the end. Today, the final game of the World Cup is going to be played in Rio, and what a tournament it has been. We have seen all the things that we could hope for:
- The scoring has been amazing this time around. There is no real explanation for it, but this may be the golden age of attacking football. Lots of tactics, athleticism and talent on the field at all times make this so.
- We have two giants in the final, Germany and Argentina. Both are part of the big four that I mentioned in the primer. Both have multiple tournament wins, but it has been a while. Germany last won in 1990, but have been sniffing around the finals for the last 12 years. Argentina last won in 1986, but recently begun to show that they have the talent to be there.
- The US had a very exciting tournament and brought the fans to the screens to watch them make it out of a very tough group.
- Overall, CONCACAF has had a big tournament. Mexico, USA, and Costa Rica all made it out of the group and all played well.
As for this game, it comes down to one thing: Can Messi beat Germany? The German team is really on top of the world now, having embarrassed the host nation and playing a game that looks fluid and strong. They are truly the best team in the game. But Argentina has the best player in the game, and he has the ability to make magic happen at the times when magic is most needed. It would be very interesting to see Argentina score a quick goal on the Germans and see how they react. I would think that they would not panic, but the stress of the game can force strange reactions. Coming off of a game where they had their will, if Argentina can frustrate them, it may create opportunities for Messi to seal his place in the record books.
As much fun as it would be to see Messi lift his team onto his shoulders and take them all they way, I do not see that happening today. The German team is too deep and too talented to let that happen. I think the game will be hard fought and the goals will happen late. Look for Germany to control the middle and chip away at Messi with Schweinsteiger and Khedira, while the Argentine defense struggles to contain Kroos, Mueller and Ozil.