Germany v Argentina

It may not be the Brazil v Spain clash of the titans most were anticipating at the start of the tournament, but it’s a very interesting matchup nonetheless. Germany has clearly demonstrated it has the best team in the World Cup, while Argentina has, not quite so clearly, demonstrated that it has, if not the best, one of the best individual players in the tournament.

The case for Germany: Argentina is exhausted. Messi is exhausted. Two of their best players, di Maria and Mascheranno, are less than 100 percent. Several teams, including Holland, have demonstrated that Messi can be kept in check by an aggressive midfield. Germany is well-rested, confident, and injury-free. Lowe has shown that he can select the right rosters and make the right tactical substitutions during the game.

The case for Argentina. Messi. It’s a quasi-home game. And as far as the narrative goes, it would make the final an all-time epic if Messi was somehow able to lead Argentina over the heavily favored Germans; Argentina is 2.5-to-1 underdog.

Conclusion: There is no way Germany doesn’t win. It won’t go to penalties. It won’t go to extra time. I expect Germany to come out strong and to attempt to crush the Argentine spirit early. Holland tried to play conservative and outlast the Albiceleste, and it didn’t work out well for them. Die Mannschaft won’t make the same mistake. Germany 3-0.

GERMANY 0 ARGENTINA 0 Argentina has done very well to take the game to extra time. They have Germany right where they want them, in fact, if Higuina could simply put his shots on goal, they would have already won. Messi, too, has missed one very good opportunity. Argentina’s lack of finishing has been dreadful; it seems that more than half their shots have gone wide. But in Kadir’s absence, Germany has been playing too conservatively, Ozil has been a nonentity again, and I have no idea what Lowe was thinking by playing the 36-year old Klose for 85 minutes instead of taking him out 10 minutes after halftime.