Die Mannschaft is primed and ready to knock of Argentina Sunday in the Finals of the FIFA World Cup for the country’s fourth world championship. Germany proved in the semifinal match against Brazil that they are a force to be reckoned with. With seven goals coming from six different players against the host country, the German attack looks to be much more complete than Argentina’s.
The key to a victory by the German machine will likely come down to defense. More specifically, the defensive decisions by German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Neuer utilizes a sweeper keeper method at the position in front of the goal. Numerous times this World Cup, the 28-year old keeper has come out of the penalty box after the ball, leaving the goal wide open. Typically, leaving the box is a risky move on any level, however, leaving the box with a player like Argentina’s Lionel Messi could be viewed as a stupid move. One mistake with Messi handling the ball or nearby could sink the German’s hopes very quickly. Neuer cannot lose track of the Argentinian superstar at anytime during the game and will need to put full trust into the German defensive backs to handle the sweeping duties.
Another key to a victory will be the official on the field. The referee chosen for the final match is Nicola Rizzoli. The 42-year old official has faced criticism after Belgium’s 1-0 loss to Argentina, which Rizzoli also officiated. After the loss Belgium’s coach Marc Wilmots claimed Rizzoli does not call fouls against Argentina. On top of seeming to not call an infraction against Argentina, anytime Messi touches the ball Rizzoli awards a free kick. However, it appears FIFA does not see an issue with Italian referee calling the final match of the World Cup between the two top teams, Die Mannschaft and Argentina.
The Golden Boot and Golden Ball are also up for grabs in this game. Messi is in the running along with Germany’s Thomas Müller for the most goals of the tournament. Müller is sitting on five goals while Messi has four. Both are trailing the six goals by Colombia’s James Rodriguez. Also in play for Germany is André Schürrle with three and both Toni Kroos and Miroslav Klose who both have two goals apiece. While the chances for Schürrle, Kroos and Klose to win the scoring title are slim, scores by Müller or Messi could dethrone Rodriguez. Müller also won the title in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup.
Germany’s four players nominated for the Adidas Golden Ball trophy leads the three players from Argentina. Müller and Kroos were nominated along with teammates Mats Hummels and Philipp Lahm for Germany. For Argentina, Messi was nominated along with Angel Di Maria and Javier Mascherano. Also nominated was Brazil’s Neymar, Netherlands Arjen Robben and Rodriguez. Of the players on teams still alive, Müller and Messi have the best chance to take home the award for the tournament’s most outstanding player. It would take a phenomenal performance by Robben in the third place match to slip past the German or Argentinian. Both Rodriguez and Neymar have an outside chance to win. If the Colombian’s scoring record stands after Sunday’s final, there is a possibility the six goal performance could snag the award. There could be a sympathy card in play for the host country that has a slight chance to award the title to Neymar. The safe bet would be Müller or Messi.
As the finals of the FIFA World Cup draws closer, Die Mannschaft and Argentina are in the prime spots to not only win the tournament, but top the individual awards also. With less than 48-hours to go, it is anyone’s game. The final between Germany and Argentina is setting up to potentially be the match of the tournament.
Commentary by Carl Auer