Sunday, July 13, 2014

Germany-Argentina - what is going to happen?

Pretty simple - someone is going to win the World Cup.

Wait, you were looking for more than that? Oh, ok. :-)

Seriously, though, let's look at one thing off the top - the chance of this being Germany romping again like they did against Brazil is infinitesimally small. So let's just cross that off the list.

Also, this is the World Cup Final - four years in the making, and so many decades of history for both sides. The current count of World Cup victories is Brazil 5, Italy 4, Germany 3 and Argentina 2. Does Argentina join Germany or Germany join Italy? What does that mean? I means this will be a very tight game, a conservative game - in some places, a cynical game. All the excitement of the Group Stage is gone - now it is business, and big business at that.

Argentina comes into the game having given up three goals all tournament, two in the game that didn't really matter. They have consistently been organized and tidy on defense, then found a way to get the necessary difference maker, usually from Messi in some form. Their win over Holland seems to me most indicative. I am not saying that Holland is as good as Germany, but they are pretty darn close, and Argentina held them without a goal, winning it on kicks from the mark.

Germany on the other hand, gave up four. Wow, what a difference. (No, not really, which is my point). They did have a tougher row to hoe, but have handled it with class. The Brazil match, as discussed, needs to be thrown out as an anomaly, except to say that there is some real power there. But I look at how the USA and France played The Machine. Unsuccessfully, it proved, but if you make an effort, you can slow down The Machine.

And Argentina is better than both France and the USA. The difference between them and the French might be small, but it is key - Messi. He has the ability to create something out of the blink of an eye, something that France was unable to do against Germany.

I think Germany will go out with strength, pressing for the game, and the question is whether they get it. The longer Argentina is within a goal or the game is tied, the more danger there is for Germany because Messi and Co. have found a way in every match, and will likely do so again if given time to.

I can easily see Germany getting one in the first 60 minutes, Argentina tying it up late, nothing in extra time and it coming to kicks form the mark. At that point, it will come down to who blinks. Both because of history, but also because of the same pressure that undid Brazil, Colombia, Spain and others in this tournament, I can see Argentina blinking before Germany - but at that point, the difference is so slight...

What to watch for? If Germany can get a second goal, then they are in the driver's seat. Otherwise, it will come down to a moment of brilliance, probably form Messi.

So for me, I'd put this game at +.5 for Germany, but it will be so tight. SO tight.

Either way, a legend will be born, and the legacy of one of the storied national teams will take another step deeper into history.


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