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World Cup: Championship Match

We have now reached the Championship Match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.  On one side, we have the Machine that is Germany; who have surgically dissected their opponents with a loaded roster and a creative, precise attack.  On the opposite end, we have Argentina who has played close matches throughout the tournament; seemingly waiting for Lionel Messi to carry the selection to the World Cup trophy.  Germany has been the most consistent team in the whole tournament and seem poised to be crown world champions for a fourth time.  Argentina has been playing like a team of destiny, even getting victories when they didn’t seem deserving of that victory– as if some higher power has been carrying them all the way to the World Cup Final.  Let’s break down how each team got here and pick the winner.

Argentina-  Messi and company started their World Cup by jumping out to a 2-0 lead over Bosnia and Herzegovina before allowing a late goal to win 2-1.  They then faced a game Iran squad who did plenty of bending but just would not break; until Messi scored the game-winner as the game was coming to an end, escaping 1-0.  Argentina then met a familiar foe in Nigeria and the game showed that familiarity.  Argentina scored then Nigeria returned.  Argentina answered before Nigeria returned the favor.  Argentina finally scored to secure the 3-2 victory.  In the round of 16, they needed extra time to get the win over Switzerland when Angel Di Maria scored the winner in the 118th minute.  It was the opposite in the quarterfinals, as a Gonzalo Higuain goal in the 8th minute was all the Argentina needed to get by Belgium.  In the semifinals, Argentina faced the Netherlands and played 120 minutes of scoreless football.  In the penalty kick shootout, Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero made two huge stops, including one against Wesley Sneijder, to help lead Argentina into to the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win.

Germany-  The Machine began group play in the “Group of Death” by dismantling Portugal, 4-0– including a hat trick by Thomas Muller.  They then fell behind Ghana 2-1, before the ageless Miroslav Klose scored his 15th career World Cup goal to ensure a 2-2 draw.  In the third match, Thomas Muller took advantage of a rebound that came right to him to score the clincher over the United States, winning 1-0.  They faced off with Algeria in the round of 16, and the match was scoreless through the first 90 minutes.  In extra time, Andre Schurrle scored in the 92nd minute to go up 1-0 and Mesut Ozil added a second goal in the 120th minute.  Algeria scored in stoppage time for the final score of 2-1, Germany.  Mats Hummels scored an early 13th minute goal against France, and Germany held on for the 1-0 quarterfinal victory.  In the semifinals, the Germans completely destroyed Brazil; jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first 29 minutes of the match.  Germany added two more goals in the second half before Brazil finally broke through for a massive 7-1 blowout for the Germans.

Prediction-  These two selections meet in the World Cup Final for a third time in history.  In 1986, Argentina came out on top to win their second World Cup title, beating then West Germany 3-2.  Four years later, the teams met again in Italy 1990.  This time Germany came out on top 1-0, led by Jurgen Klinsmann.  In Argentina, we might have a team of destiny.  Messi is looking for his first World Cup title, while his country looks for its third overall.  The rest of the Argentine squad have seemed to sit back and wait for Messi to carry them to a title.  It has worked to this point, but now face the most loaded, consistent team in this World Cup.  In Germany, we truly have a machine with their pure precision.  No selection has even close to the amount of options the Germans have at their disposal. They have Muller, who trails only Colombia’s James Rodriguez for the lead in scoring with five goals, and Klose, Kroos, Hummels, Ozil, Schurrle,Schweinsteiger, Lahm, and more.  An amazing amount of weapons, especially when we are reminded that Marco Reus missed this World Cup because of injury– one more dangerous weapon had he not been injured.  This is the third straight World Cup that Argentina and Germany have each other in the knockout stage.  In 2006, the teams drew 1-1 in the quarterfinals but Germany won 4-2 in penalty kicks. In 2010, they met in the quarterfinals again only Germany dismantled Argentina and moved on with a 4-0 victory.  This year, Germany will systematically break down Argentina and come out on top 3-1.  Two goals from Muller will give him seven overall and the Golden Boot award.

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