World Cup 2014: Matchday Twenty Five (Final)

Germany 1 – 0 Argentina AET

Argentina started marginally better, attacking with purpose down the left, with Higuain planting a shot across the face of goal in the opening minutes. Messi, Higuain and Zabaleta would combine down that flank a few more times in the first 15 minutes, causing some problems, while the Germans tried to feel their opponents out down at the other end. Kroos gifted Higuain the first clear chance with his badly thought-out backwards header, but Higuain, perhaps surprised at being given the chance, blasted badly wide.  Soon after Klose was nearly in for Germany, but for a fine deflection by Mascherano, continuing where he left off against the Dutch. The Germans now controlled most of the play with their patient build-up style, but then suddenly Higuain had the ball in the net from a lovely Lavezzi pass, only for it to be rightly ruled out for offside.

So, the Argentineans were dangerous while Germany kept most of the possession. Losing Khedira before the match started, and then his replacement Kramer, left Germany looking a little out of sorts for much of the first half. But Schurrle’s involvement down the left galvanised them a little, and they had the better chances before half time, Schurrle’s shot beaten away at the near post and Howedes’ header coming back off the post.

The game was scrappy enough as the second half began. Argentina again had the better start, the German offside trap frustrating them a few times while Messi pulled a shot just wide of the post from a very good position. But soon the pattern of the game reasserted itself, with Germany pushing forward and the Garay/Demichelis combination shutting them down before they could get too close.

Down the other end Neuer was back to his effective sweeper keeper role, mopping up whenever the impressive Boatang and Hummels were not. The gaps were appearing in the Argentina penalty area past the hour mark, with Ozil and Muller both miscontrolling at crucial moments, and Kroos shooting too closely at Romero. Messi had gone quiet, playing around the centre circle most of the time, save for a good dribble and wide shot around the 75 minute mark.The game became taut and tense, many bad challenges and panicked shots in-between some great defensive tackling and wonderful passing football. The sub Goetze, Schurrle, Messi and Aguero all had distant efforts or half chances, but the remainder of the game belonged to the defences.

And so the extra time. Schurrle had a chance almost immediately, but hit too straight at Romero before Aguero fizzed a ball well wide at the other end. The Argentineans were tiring quickly, and Germany were allowed the vast majority of the play. They could do little with it though, and Argentina’s Palacio had the best chance of the additional 30, hooking an amazing chance wide.

It looked like a shoot-out would be required until suddenly the breakthrough came. Schurrle powered down the left, the opposition defence that had been so strong up to then drifted into pieces, and Goetze was given the time and space to take down a fine cross and side foot it past Romero. A great strike. Argentina, fatigued and near broken, could only look to Messi’s late free kick, but it ballooned well wide.

So, it was Germany’s World Cup Final. They were worthy winners, absorbing the brief moments of Argentinean danger, and dealing with the increasingly aggressive nature of their tackling late on. They maintained their patient approach, and took the chance when it came. Final rankings coming up shortly.

Prediction finals scores: I got both of the last two games right giving me a final result of 33/64. Just over 50%! Hurrah!

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