A detailed look at the final games of Brazil 2014. There are now just two games left to go to cap off an exhilarating tournament hosted by Brazil. The 3rd place play off will be contested by the home nation along with the Dutch on Saturday night whilst Germany and Argentina will battle to be crowned World Champions on Sunday night in the final showdown. Here we look over both games.
Brazil v Netherlands, 12th July 9pm
Neither nation will be particularly relishing this game so the varying motivations either side and it’s players has, makes it difficult to call with any certainty. We can however try and gauge what we think may be their attitudes toward it from what quotes come out of the camps and the pressure they are under to perform.
The one team that is under pressure to perform is Brazil. After a hopeless performance in the semi finals in which they devastatingly destroyed their country’s hopes of victory, you would think the team need to react. A few changes are likely to be made, with Thiago Silva certainly coming back into the fold to lead his team out. His presence is a massive boost for a defence that was in total disarray last time out. Jo could come in at CF with one of Hernanes and Ramires likely to come into the midfield. Dani Alves and Maxwell may start in the full back positions whilst David Luiz may be taken out of the spotlight.
Van Gaal has come out this week and admitted that he is not a fan of this match. This attitude may filter through to his players and he is almost certain to make changes to his tactics and starting XI. Memphis Depay will be looking to start and you would expect LVG to start the underused Huntelaar as to give him game time and not risk his star striker at Man Utd, Van Persie. He is also likely to switch away from his 5 at the back and apply a more attacking free flowing formation.
These games are notoriously high scoring contests due to there being nothing truly tangible at stake. With both teams freshening it up and the Netherlands likely to come out of their shell there is no reason why this game shan’t follow suit. The massive pressure on the Brazilians to pull out a performance mixed with the Dutch reluctant vibes given off, I am going for a Brazil win with both teams getting on the scoresheet. A 2-1 or 3-2 win being my guesses.
Germany v Argentina, 13th July 8pm
3 time winners and 2 time winners respectively, it goes without saying these two sides will be desperate to make another mark in their countries history books. There won’t be a free seat in the 79,000 filled Maracana and the World will be watching for what is the ultimate and most prestigous spectacle in football, the World Cup final.
The Germans come into the game well rested, focused and confident after an emphatic battering of Brazil in their own back yard. They look to become the first European side to win a World Cup in South America. There is no reason why they would alter their starting XI after the 7-1 annihilation so expect there to be no changes. Mats Hummels would be the only slight doubt after coming off at half time in the semi final but this may have just been precautionary.
Argentina have had one day less recuperation and their method of progression is in great contrast to that of their fellow finalists. In a 0-0 battle of wills with the Oranje they managed to bundle through on penalty kicks. Sergio Aguero featured in the latter stages of that semi and will be pushing for a starting spot in place of Lavezzi or Higuain. The staff are still hopeful Di Maria could be available although this is extremely unlikely; Perez will almost certainly start in his place after competently replacing him last time out.
This final is a very difficult one to call and a tight game can be anticipated. Germany will try to continue their recently adopted more direct style of play and Muller v Rojo will be an interesting contest with the Bayern Munich man in great goalscoring form this tournament. Argentina’s exploits in previous games will count against them as they encounter a clichéd, but aptly described, efficient German machine. Mascherano has been immense this tournament and Argentina will be relying and needing another monstrous performance to stand a chance. Having the best player in the World in your ranks is also no handicap and Lionel Messi will be looking to cement his place as the ‘greatest ever’.
The Germans are rightly favourites and if they can’t wrap it up in normal time and extra time is necessary, then I can only see Die Manschaaft going on to lift the trophy. However, you just could not write off a gritty 1-0 Argentine victory in 90.