There’s one more important piece of housekeeping to do before this World Cup ends — find a winner.
Germany v Argentina
World Cup Final
Sunday, 13th July 2014
Estádio Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
In the immediate build-up towards the final, it’s easy to forget that both World Cup finalists were written off in the group stages as easy pickings for other, better looking sides. In the group stages both Germany and Argentina varied between the sublime (expected) and pedestrian, with a few star players dragging the team out of tight spots.
For Argentina’s Lionel Messi, think Germany’s Thomas Muller. For Sami Khedira’s off the bench game-changing exploits to Angel Di Maria’s lung-busting runs.
But when the knockout stages came calling, the teams changed. They were visibly more compact in defence, more aggressive in offence, efficient with their chances and expertly denying their opponents any chance at all.
They’ve played better opponents as the tournament has progressed and their performances as a team have improved as well.
Now they play their toughest game yet.
Germany v Argentina match predictions
Argentina have already laid out their stall, promising a disciplined, tight defence and looking to Messi as their match winner. It’s the same template they followed against Netherlands, although that game went through 120 minutes with Messi doing little.
Argentina may not last another 120 minutes without Messi showing up to play. A Netherlands team with Khedira and Toni Kroos in midfield could have destroyed Argentina inside the first 45 minutes. Javier Mascherano and co. will need to step their game up.
On the flip side, Germany will have to play a more patient, pulsed game, building, keeping the ball and probing before launching sharp attacking bursts.
While Argentina are still the pick for many punters, we’re predicting a Germany win. And with the 4/1 odds on offer through William Hill, it’s an unmissable offer.
Germany are 4/1 to win the World Cup with William Hill – enhanced offer open to new customers only.
Golden Boot predictions
James Rodriguez has this gift-wrapped unless Argentina pull a Brazil and Muller gets at least two goals. With six goals in five matches, Rodriguez will have played in fewer games than Muller (currently five goals in six matches), even if Muller gets a goal in the World Cup final.
We’re not expecting a goal-fest and certainly not a brace.
Messi, with four goals in six matches, needs a hat-trick while Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie need to hit 4 goals to overtake Rodriguez.