World Cup Final Preview: Germany v Argentina

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Germany v Argentina

World Cup Final

Sunday 13 July

Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro

Kick Off: 8pm BST

After 32 days, 64 games and 169 goals, two teams are left with hopes of winning the World Cup. Will it be man or machine? The individual brilliance of Lionel Messi's Argentina, or the well oiled machine of Germany?

Both are bidding for a third World Cup, and Germany and Argentina have been waiting almost an equally long time for the taste of World Cup success. To add to the history of this fixture, they beat each other to win their last World Cup. In 1986, Argentina beat West Germany in an enthralling 3-2 win. But four years later, Germany had their revenge with a late penalty from Andrea Brehme.

Eternal glory awaits the winners. For Argentina, to win the World Cup in the home stadium of their great rivals, Brazil, would earn them adulation, admiration and legendary status. Germany would be the first European team to be crowned World Champions at a South American World Cup.

These two teams contain some of the tournament's best players. Thomas Muller is on course to win the Golden Boot for the second consecutive time. Germany, more known for their organisation, have excelled going forward; putting 11 goals past Portugal and Brazil. In stark contrast, Argentina's 'fab four' of Messi, Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero, were expected to light up the tournament with the defence their likely downfall. But the South American's success has been based on their defensive strength. They've conceded just three times in the entire tournament. And aside from Messi's four goals, only two of Argentina's goals have come from other members of the 'fab four'.

Team News

German centre-back, Mats Hummels, who was taken off as a precaution in the memorable 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil, but he is likely to return. Manager Joachim Low could name an unchanged side from the team that started against Brazil.

Argentina are sweating on the fitness of Di Maria. The attacking midfielder was originally ruled out of the rest of the tournament after picking up a thigh strain during the quarter-final win over Belgium. But he has returned to training this week in a bid to be fit for the final. Sergio Aguero should be back to full fitness after recovering from injury and could return to the starting line-up.

The Stats

This is the third World Cup final played between these two sides, as both look for a third World Cup triumph.

The 1986 final is Argentina's only victory over Germany at the World Cup.

Germany's Miroslav Klose broke the all-time World Cup goalscoring record in the humiliation of Brazil. He has the chance to extend that record tonight.

This is Germany's eighth appearance at a World Cup Final. No team has reached more.

Argentina have kept four clean sheets so far, and haven't conceded in the knockout stages.

Germany's Thomas Muller has scored 12 goals in 10 World Cup appearances, and has provided six assists.

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