TOUCHLINEUI: 2014 WORLD CUP FINAL PREVIEW: THE BEST TEAM V THE BEST PLAYER

INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

 

 

62 games played, 167 goals scored, 30 teams fallen by the wayside, two finalists, one winner. It’s the World Cup final and it doesn’t get bigger than this; a battle between the tournament’s most prolific attack and one of the most disciplined defences, it is Germany V Argentina.

 

 

 

 

 

Although the prediction business has taken heavy blows in this edition of the tournament, we at TOUCHLINEUI are prepared to stick out our necks and lose them (not literally though!).

HISTORY

Germany and Argentina would contest in a record third World Cup Final on the 13th of July 2014.These two sides met previously in the deciding fixtures in Mexico 1986(Argentina won 3-2) and in the Italy 1990 (Germany won 1-0).

1990 world cup final

 

 

 

 

To get to this all-important match of the tournament, Germany steamrolled Hosts and Pre-Tournament Favorites Brazil 7-1 while for the La Albiceleste, it was a hard fought 4-2 Penalty shootout success over the Louis Van Gaal Dutch side.

Germany VBrazil

 

 

 

 

The manner of both sides contrasting triumph in the penultimate fixture has left fans, pundits and critics wondering if the Maracana showdown would be a mismatch or better still a David-Goliath showdown with this Goliath, unlike the Biblical one, tipped to win her fourth World Cup Crown.

 

 

 

 

 

However, South America has been a jinxed Ground for European sides as we still await the first European World Cup Winners on South American soil. The previous five finals between teams from these continents on Latin American Soil have ended in victories in favor of the South Americans. Would the strongest economy in Europe become the first European side to win on South America soil; this time in the strongest Economy in South America or will Argentina triumph for the third time on the World Stage on the soil of their biggest rivals?

ARGENTINA WILL WIN!

By Umeike, Tiolu Chike

 

messi

 

 

 

 

There’s no doubt about the fact that the Germans would start as favorites on Sunday based on their superior team quality and unlike Argentina they don’t need to rely on an individual to win their games, I  however strongly believe that Sabella’s men can and will hoist the Cup for a third time on the 13th of July. My reasons are certainly not far-fetched.

TACTICAL APPROACH

Unlike Brazil who were open, reckless and tactically naïve in the semi-final, the Argentines won’t repeat Brazil’s ill-thought tactic of trying to play open or wide with no defence cover.

 

 

 

 

 

The South Americans would be cagey, compact and patient knowing full well that a goal could be enough to win the game and the Cup. Sabella’s men won’t go gung-ho as that would leave space for the likes of Kroos, Muller, Lahm and Khedira to exploit to devastating effect. They’ll concede possession to Low’s men but what they won’t concede is position. This is where Mascherano’s importance comes into play. He’ll do the dirty job and ensure that those around him maintain their cohesive structure.

 

 

 

 

Javier Mascherano against the Netherlands

  • 84% pass accuracy,
  • 4 Tackles won, 75% Aerial duels won
  •  3 Interceptions and 2 Blocks Source-(Squawka Football)

Germany has struggled against compact and defensively sound sides; USA and Algeria come to mind. They only thrived in the semis simply because Brazil gave them space.

germany v usa

 

 

 

 

 

The Counter-attacking shape will enable the likes of Lavezzi, Di Maria (should he recover from a thigh Injury) and Lionel Messi exploit whatever space left by the galloping Germans.

DEFENSIVE STRENGTH OF THE ALBICELESTE

The Argentine attack might not have set the Tournament alight with goals but they are yet to concede a World Cup in over 340 minutes of play which includes extra time matches against the Swiss and The Dutch. The last time Romero picked the ball from the back of net was Ahmed Musa’s second half strike in their 3-2 over African Champions, Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t see the Germans coming back should they go behind as they’ll struggle to break the South Americans down and should Miroslav Klose start for the Germans, they’ll find it hard to get passes through to the 36 year old who only comes to live inside the six-yard box.

higuain against Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

They might also have scored 8 goals in the Tournament but a couple have been timely and heartbreaking; a late winner against Iran, a second-half extra time goal by Angel Di Maria against Switzerland in the Second Round and an early strike by Gonzalo Higuain against the Red Devils in the Quarter-Final.

di maria

 

 

 

 

 

Should they manage to hold their hold against the Germans, they’ll fashion out that one chance or the genius himself, Lionel Messi would find that space and punish Low and his troop.

 

Argentina v Switzerland: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

 

 

 

 

 

ABILITY TO EXPOSE GERMANY’S DEFENCE

What if the South Americans concede first? Looks I’ve shot myself in the leg? No! That would not be game over as Argentina has what it takes to hurt the Germans.  Despite Germany’s improvement in the rearguard, the Europeans are still prone to being caught out on the break by teams with lightning and direct attack due to the highline defence usually employed by Joachim Low.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against Algeria, this highline was exposed to the extent that Neuer had to bail his teammates several times by playing the Sweeper Keeper.

Against the likes of Aguero and Lionel Messi who drop back and draw the defence line higher, the German defence would have their hands full especially with the likes of Lavezzi, Angel Di Maria (should he recover in time) and Gonzalo Higuain exploiting space.

Also, despite Howedes performing admirably at the left-back despite not being familiar there, it still nevertheless remains the weakest link of the team. The Schalke man is not the fastest of fullbacks and his lack of pace would be exploited by Di Maria (should he recover in time) who is full of flair, pace and tricky and is equally adept at winning the penalties.

ARROGANT GERMANS!

Unlike the Netherlands, the Germans would take the game to the guys from the West Banks of the Atlantic Ocean with the likes of Kroos, Ozil and Muller playing the attacking roles as well as Khedira and Schweinsteiger having the licence to go forward.

This would leave them prone to the danger of being caught on the break. Unlike teams like Switzerland and Holland that set out to stop Messi, the Germans would be arrogant in not man-marking the 4-Time World Player of the Year and we all know what happens when Messi has the smallest of spaces to toy with.

messi

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fact Germany mauled Brazil could also make them overconfident in approaching the final. Unfortunately for them, any form of complacency would be ruthlessly dealt with by the Argentines led by Lionel Messi who would not in any way need a second invitation. One is enough and that could be it!

Should Messi win the FIFA World Cup, it would also end any debate as to who is greater between him and Cristiano Ronaldo and elevate his status to that of Pele and Maradona. Big Motivation for the Barcelona Forward!

Germany might have the better players but Argentina has the best Player in the World who needs just a touch to ruin the German Party and win the Cup for the LA ALBICELESTE!

 

  • Lionel Messi has created more chances (19) than any other player at the 2014 World Cup

–  Squawka Football

 

HISTORY

No European Country has won the World Cup on South American soil and Sunday’s final would be the sixth time an European team will face a South American team in the Final of the World Cup on Latin America soil. The previous five encounters hardly offer any hope for Germany; the previous five were won by South American Sides and with the way the script is playing out, Lionel Messi and his teammates are just days from etching their Names in the annals of the Argentine Soccer History.

PREVIOUS FINALS BETWEEN EUROPEAN AND SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES IN LATIN AMERICA COUNTRIES

  • YEAR         RESULT                                                  HOST
  • 1962    Brazil 3 V Czechoslovakia 1           CHILE
  • 1970    Brazil 4 V Italy 1                                      MEXICO
  • 1978    Argentina 3 V Holland 1                     ARGENTINA
  • 1986    Argentina 3 V West Germany 2   MEXICO
  • 1994    Brazil  V Italy   (3-2 Penalties           USA

1986 world cup final

 

 

 

 

It’s the South American Party and I don’t see the Germans coming to town to ruin it. Thank You!

GERMANY WILL WIN!

By Omisakin Ayobami

A lot of predictions here and there, even the windows app and the Toronto Zoo sloth have made theirs. And I’m making mine with a bold statement- the Germans will defeat the Argentines. I state this not because of the wins against Portugal and Brazil, rather, I take this stand because I believe that 22 legs are better than just 2!

GOALKEEPING DEPARTMENT

Manuel+Neuer+Germany+v+Algeria+ZbZ8bGR-1xZl

 

 

 

 

 

In Manuel Neuer, the Germans have a solid platform from which to propel into greatness. The goalie has an excellent decision making system (at least better than Casillas), he knows when to punch or catch, when to race out or otherwise, and from evidence from the Champions League, not shy from saving penalties. Due to him, the Germans can rest assured that when Messi proves too smart for the defence (which is very likely), they still have a rock behind the defence.

DEFENCE

Considering the fact that the Argentines’ main threat is the attack, one would expect that the German defence would be stronger than it is. Unfortunately, it is not so.  However, all hope is not lost. The return of Lahm to right back position has added more stability to the defence.

hummels

 

 

 

 

The presence of Hummels is another glimmer of hope, but the weakest link in this defence is in Howedes on the left- a natural right footed centre back. His lack of speed will make him prone to fast runs that will be made by Zabaleta and Perez (Di Maria’s replacement) on the right. The defence will play deep and resist temptations from Messi and Aguero to play a high line. As the German midfield will maintain an attacking tempo, Zabaleta’s trademark darting runs on the flank will be limited. Also, since Argentina plays with 3 men in the middle of the park, Perez may not get the opportunity to attack from the flank considering Germany’s heavy presence in the middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 STRENGTH IN MIDFIELD

This is the engine room of the German Machines. Bastian, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Gotze, Podolski Muller; a plethora of talents and options. The trio of Bastian, Khedira and Kroos will be key to a German win. Their performances will have a direct effect on either team’s chances. Bastian might be given the unenviable task of marking Messi while Khedira and Kroos will be expected to bring in the tackles with Kroos particularly expected to link up play with the attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All 3 are established passers of the ball and the Argentines will be wary of this. The trio will limit the space behind them as well, preventing Messi and Aguero from drawing out the defence; it is quite safe to state that the World Cup could be won at this point. The inability of the midfield to provide cover for this defence that seemingly lacks pace will prove fatal for the Germans. But one can trust Bastian to shadow Messi throughout the match and at the times he gets away (he surely will), the defence shall be on hand to mop up. If De Jong could do it, then Bastian can. Kroos’ long range shots and ability to pick up any teammate on the pitch with an accurate pass is a plus and might just make the difference against a stubborn Argentine defence.

 

khedira

 

 

 

 

Mascherano is another pivot in the Argentine midfield. He would be expected to provide adequate cover for the defence as he has done in the past. His shadowing of Robben is a testament to Mascherano’s qualities but it remains to be seen who he would man-mark because the Germans do not have a main man. Either one of the German midfielders could do the damage.

ATTACK

Muller or Klose or Podolski, not the classic no. 9s but capable of doing the damage; Klose will only do damage in the 6-yard and Muller’s reaction rate to loose balls is alarmingly fast. Either one of them is not the best for the job but is more than enough.

 

 

muller

 

 

 

 

 

FANS SUPPORT?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Cup is in South America and Argentina will obviously have a lot of support. But wait a minute; the Germans just obliterated the team with the highest support! Yeah, now you get the picture.

GERMANY’S CUTTING EDGE

As stated earlier, Germany is a stronger side on paper. The main strength of this team lies in the fact that it can boast of several key players, thus, making it impossible for their opponents to focus on a particular player.

schurrle

 

 

 

 

 

Having stated this, it is also essential to note that the Germans are gifted with very technical players who have the ability to exploit the tiniest of spaces to devastating effects. In addition to that is the creative prowess inherent in the team. The ability to dominate the park and create chances is another edge the Germans have over Argentines. Surely the Argentines will look to defend in numbers and wait for counter attacking opportunities but no matter how well a team defends, there will be lapses in concentration and the Germans have already shown how ruthless they can be.

 

 

 

 

 

Furthermore, it is worthy of note that this German team is the highest scoring team at the World Cup. Finding the net should not be a problem against Argentina.

IN SUMMARY

Germany will win. That’s all.

PREDICT AND WIN!

Predict the scoreline and winners of the 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP

Predict your answer as a comment on the Blog Site. E.g. 2-1 Germany

 If you feel it would go the distance (Penalties), indicate by stating who would win the 6 yard test (E.g. Germany5-3 on Penalties)

The first correct answer stands a chance of winning airtime of the following network providers (MTN, Etisalat, Airtel and GLO)

Kindly drop your choice number mobile number alongside your comment

Answers should be provided on or before 8pm tomorrow the 13th of July, 2014.

Only comments on the Blog would stand a chance of walking away with our gift

IT’S ONLY OPEN TO NIGERIANS!!!!

Thank You Very Much!

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