After 64 games, and one month of fun & drama, it was Germany who came out on top. Sealing their 4th World Title, at the expense of Argentina.
It has been a long time, over 20 years since either of these superpowers had won the biggest of all prizes. On form, Germany went in as the favorites. After the ruthless manner in which they dismantled Brazil in the previous round. Though Argentina would still be a threat, they had not conceded a single goal during the knock out phase, and were finally looking like a complete team.
If there were any doubts on Argentina being more tired after their semi final, they were quickly put to bed. Germany may have had the larger share of the possession early on, but Argentina looked lively on the break. It was Argentina who had the first clear chance to go in front. A tame header from Kroos played in Gonzalo Higuain clean through on goal. But he fluffed his chance horribly, not even managing to test the goalie and sending the ball wide. He soon thought he had made amends, putting away a great cross from Lavezzi, but the linesman’s flag denied him his moment. Germany did not have the best preparation, Sami Khedira having to pull out during the warm up, meaning Christoph Kramer was suddenly called into action, and suddenly having to start in the biggest game of his life. To his credit, he did well, but his time was cut short, a horrible clash with an Argentinian player left his dazed. Germany correctly chose not to take the risk, and replaced him with Andre Schürrle. Germany’s best effort of the half was from a corner late into added time. Höwedes crashing a header off the post. The half ended goalless, but it was an intriguing game so far.
Argentina replaced the lively Lavezzi with Sergio Aguero, in search of a goal. Their early pressure almost paid off, as Lionel Messi was played in, and with the goal at his mercy, his shot went wide of the far post. A surprising miss when it looked like a goal was most certain. Argentina had now fluffed 2 good opportunities, and failed to test the keeper on both occasions. Germany eventually reasserted themselves and had most of the ball for the rest of the half, Toni Kroos had the best of their chances. The game went into Extra Time as neither team could find the break through. It was Argentina who wasted another glorius chance in in the first period of Extra Time. A poor German header found its way to Palacio, but his poor first touch and lobbed shot failed to threaten the goal, even if it was on target, it would have been cleared off the line by the rushing defender. Both team traded blows with no success, until 6 minutes from time. Gotze, who had come on as a sub, collected a pass from the industrious Schürrle. In one smooth motion, he controlled the ball and hit it on the volley from the edge of the 6 yard box and into the net. A fine goal, worthy of winning the World Cup. The two substitutes combined well, which would have pleased the manager. Germany managed to hold on in the last few minutes, to win their 4th World Cup. For Argentina, they were made to pay for all their missed chances, they failed to register a single shot on goal. Brazil sighed in relief, as they would not have to witness their arch rivals win on their own turf. Argentina had done well to reach this far, but overall the Germans deserved it, they had been the best team throughout and had scored the most goals in the process. Not many can begrudge them this win.
On another note, the 3rd Place play-off was held on Saturday, and for Brazil, it capped of a horrendous week for Brazilian football. Inside 20 minutes, they were 2-0 down. Van Persie scoring early with a penalty, after Thiago Silva was lucky not to see red after pulling down Arjen Robben. Daley Blind scored the second, after after error from David Luiz, who has had a hapless few days. Brazil’s misery was capped off in the dying minutes, as Wijnaldum tucked home the 3rd. Brazil end the tournament having conceded 10 goals in 2 games. For Holland, they sign off on a high.
Before we leave the 2014 World Cup behind, The Golden Boot was won by Colombia’s James Rodriguez, with 6 goals (+ 2 assist), Muller finished on 5, and Messi, Van Persie & Neymar all had an impressive showing with 4 goals.
So that’s it! Brazil 2014 will now be consigned to the record books, its Russia’s turn in 4 years time. The European Championships will be in France in 2 year, something else to look forward too while we wait for the next global party! Our attention here will now move on to the English Premier League over the next few weeks, so we shall see you soon!