The day is finally here! After just over a month of football in Brazil, the World Cup Final is just hours away.
There have been thrills and spills along the way, but tonight all of that is forgotten as Argentina and Germany battle it out for the right to be crowned as the planet’s very best footballing nation.
It may be a bit cliché, but form cannot be heavily relied on in the biggest games, with the beautiful game known for unpredictability.
That said, here are three things we expect from the 2014 World Cup Final…
There have been 170 goals so far this tournament, meaning that if there are just two successful efforts tonight 2014 will usurp 1998 to become the most prolific edition of the tournament ever. A lot has been made of the poor defending on show in top leagues across the globe of late, but the attacking play in show has to be praised, and with two of the very best forward lines in action, goals can be expected tonight.
Thomas Muller will be looking to beat James Rodriguez to the Golden Boot, with one strike needed to level the Colombian’s tally, and two enough to ensure that takes the award outright which would make him the only player to claim the award in successive competitions. Lionel Messi is also not yet out of the fight, with his total of four efforts one fewer than his opposite number.
Germany have also registered 17 goals so far – with their 7-1 drubbing of hosts Brazil a big factor – while Argentina have been impressive in attack despite the fitness woes of Sergio Aguero. But one spanner in the works could be the South American’s rear-guard, which is yet to be breached in the knockout stage… Here are a few of the best goals…
The big criticism to be levelled at Lionel Messi in recent times is his international record. The skilful attacker has won just about all there is to be won at club level with Barcelona, but unlike his great compatriot Diego Maradona, honours with Argentina have not been commonplace.
A World Cup win would surely silence the few doubters remaining, and Messi’s imperious record through the years would suggest that he has what it takes to do the job on the very biggest stage.
The 27-year-old has four goals and an assist to his name, and has been the main man in his nation’s run to the showpiece game.
Germany have been, typically, efficient this tournament, wit Joachim Loew’s side having looked to get the job done early on. Three of their games have featured goals in the first 15 minutes, while their last clash with Brazil was effectively over within 25 minutes when Toni Kroos rattled in the third of seven goals.
Conversely, Argentina have been one of the tournament’s slower sides, with many of their vital goals coming late into games, with extra time and penalties required against Switzerland and the Netherlands respectively.