In just a days’ time, Germany and Argentina will battle it out at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro to see who will be crowned World Cup winners. Both have had different paths to the final, with the former pulverising Brazil 7-1 in the semis. Argentina squeezed through on penalties against the Netherlands in the last four after playing out a tentative 0-0 draw after extra time.
It’s no secret that three members of the German World Cup squad are Arsenal players, but what have they done, if anything? Mesut Ozil, our record signing, has made the most telling contribution, scoring the winner in extra time against Algeria in the second round. He was also very useful in the semis against Brazil, but what of Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski?
On the edge of glory
Mertesacker and Podolski have been used sparingly throughout the tournament, with Joachim Low preferring to use Thomas Muller on the wing and Mats Hummels as their main man in the centre of their back line. Mertesacker has a slim chance of starting should Hummels not recover in time. Nevertheless, the prospect of bringing back World Cup winners’ medals back to the Emirates will fill all three with confidence.
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As for the match itself, Germany are slight favourites, if only because they look like a more balanced team than the Argentines, who will surely rely on Lionel Messi to provide the magic which hasn’t always been there. Regarding the two World Cup finalists, an online tool predicted that they would meet in the final before a ball was even kicked.
Too close to call?
It’s likely to be a tight game, much like Argentina’s tie with the Dutch. However, Germany’s extra midfield flair provided by Ozil, Muller, Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos should see them gain the edge. Messi’s tendency to disappoint coupled with injuries to Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero could undermine Argentine chances of claiming victory in the land of their great rivals.
After the tournament ends, many players will be back from Brazil feeling that they’ve had good tournaments from a personal perspective. New signing Alexis Sanchez looked dangerous from start to finish, while Mathieu Debuchy looks like he will enjoy playing for a club with genuine aspirations of winning all the major titles.
More spending on current World Cup stars may yet be in the pipeline; Sami Khedira, who might find his days at Real Madrid numbered, could join his national teammates. Also, persistent rumours about Loic Remy’s arrival from QPR for around £8m may yet be true.