A three-week buildup of what has been the most fantastic World Cup in my lifetime gave us two semifinals that didn’t fit the bill.
Germany’s 7-1 trouncing of host Brazil made for good conversation but a horrible match. The next day, neither Holland nor Argentina looked much like they wanted to advance to play the Germans in the final before La Albiceleste did the business in penalty kicks.
With the semifinals in the books, Jogi Loew’s German side has the obvious advantage in rest, but in spirit as well. Germany has been fantastic in this tournament, and even when it hasn’t overpowered opponents, it never has really left you feeling like it wasn’t going to win.
Contrast that with an Argentina side that features the world’s best player in Lionel Messi and a good supporting cast of attacking talent. Still, with four clean sheets in six matches and three 1-0 results, the midfield work from Javier Mascherano and the play of Ezequiel Garay leading the backline have been the biggest factors for them to date.
Argentina has proven a tough team to break down, but Germany isn’t lacking for players that could do it. Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose have 26 all-time World Cup goals between them, and with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Toni Kroos in midfield, I see the odds in their favor.
Messi will be an X-factor in any match he plays in, but if you look at the semifinal, Holland did a good job of making sure he wasn’t able to get space or run freely. If the Germans replicate the Dutch, they’ll win their fourth FIFA World Cup and become the first European nation to do it in South America.
Germany has been the best team in the tournament, and I think it does it Sunday. I’ll predict a 2-1 for Deutschland. Muller and Klose with the goals.
Frank Yallop is the head coach and director of soccer for the Chicago Fire. Before coaching, he earned 52 caps as a defender with the Canadian national team.