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Who will win the World Cup

Maracana stadium

I have been privileged to have been in the stadium to see both Germany and Argentina during the 2014 world cup. 

I saw Germany beat France in the quarter-final.  The score was only 1-0 but the Germans controlled the game, stopped the French from playing and won.  It was typical German efficiency. I saw Argentina beat Bosnia.  The game was close and I felt that Bosnia matched Argentina until a moment of magic by Messi produced the decisive goal.  On the basis of those two performances I would have to go for Germany.

Four years ago Germany met Argentina in the knock-out stage of the 2010 World Cup.  Again I was privileged to be in the stadium in Cape Town.  Germany simply took Argentina apart winning four nil because Joachim Löw simply got the tactics right and attacked an identified Argentinean weakness.

For me Germany is the better team but Messi is the world’s best player.  If Germany can shackle Messi – and Netherlands did it, I think Germany will win.  Germany will go into the game full of confidence after their 7-1 win over Brazil.  Argentina could only beat Netherlands on penalties.  And Argentina played 120 minutes and one day later than Germany so the Germans could be fresher.

I also think that Germany throughout the tournament has looked better than Argentina.  Germany struggled to beat Algeria and drew with Ghana but they were brilliant beating Portugal 4-0 and Brazil 7-1.  Argentina had not looked like World Cup winners in any game.

History is interesting. Argentina has won the world cup twice 1978 and 1986. Germany has never won the World Cup at all but West Germany did in 1954, 1974 and 1990. 

The FIFA world rankings are not a very reliable guide.  But according to them Germany is second and Argentina fifth. There is the factor that Argentina is playing in their own continent but I have never been convinced that will have much of an effect in the modern age when the Germans travel worldwide in comfortable planes with time to acclimatize and have no much knowledge of the opposition players.

Some statistics to finish: in their 6 games Germany has scored 17 goals, conceding 4; Argentina 8-3

Germany has completed 3421 passes against Argentina’s 2928.

Everything points to Germany – except the Messi factor.

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