Messi’s Magic To Inspire Argentina To GloryStats
World Cup 2014
Germany produced one of the most memorable performances – a real ‘where were you when…’ moment – in World Cup history when thrashing Brazil 7-1 in Tuesday night’s semi-final. It was the first time since their opening game of the tournament – when they beat Portugal 4-0 – that everything had clicked in to place for Joachim Löw’s men. And for a period of 15 minutes in the first half the Germans looked as thought they could, and pretty much did, score every time that they went forward.
Miroslav Klose became the top scorer in World Cup history with his 16th goal in World Cup finals in the game against Brazil, while Thomas Müller is still on course to become the first player in history to win consecutive World Cup Golden Boot awards. The Bayern Munich striker has five goals for the tournament and would take the award with one or more goals in the final – one would see him move level with James Rodriguez, but claim the award by virtue of having provided more assists.
Argentina, meanwhile, booked their place in the final via a penalty shootout victory over Netherlands after neither team could find the back of the net in 120 minutes of football. It was La Albiceleste’s fourth clean sheet of the World Cup, and their third in succession. They are yet to concede a goal in the knockout stages, despite playing extra-time in two of those games.
Alejandro Sabella’s men have not been behind in any game at this World Cup and have not lost any of their last 11 international fixtures (W7, D4).
The Germans are sweating on the fitness of centre back Mats Hummles who has tendonitis in his knee. It is believed, however, that the Borussia Dortmund defender will be available.
Angel di Maria returned to light training on Thursday after missing the semi-final against Netherlands with a thigh injury. A decision on the winger’s fitness will be left as late as possible.
Head To Head
Argentina won the most recent meeting between the two sides in a friendly match back in August 2012. Di Maria and Lionel Messi were both on the scoresheet in a comfortable 3-1 win.
This will be the third time that the two nations have met in a World Cup final, after doing so in consecutive tournaments back in 1986 and 1990. The South Americans won 3-2 at Mexico ’86, with Germany gaining revenge in a 1-0 win at Italia ’90.
Germany have shortened considerably in the outright betting since the semi-finals, and although it’s an understandable reaction to an emphatic win it does appear to be a slight overreaction to one performance. Although Germany were good, Brazil were extremely poor, especially defensively. They won’t be afforded such luxuries against this tight Argentine defence.
And so from a betting perspective, Argentina are the value punt at odds of 6/5 to lift the World Cup and also 12/5 to get the job done inside the 90 minutes.
The stage is set for either Messi or Müller to grab all the headlines and each can be backed at odds of 9/2 to score first or 5/4 to score anytime. But don’t rule out a set-piece being the difference between the two teams; Marcos Rojo is a tempting 33/1 and Mats Hummels 20/1 in the first goalscorer market.