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How the two World Cup finalists compare

By Vision Reporter

Added 12th July 2014 12:11 PM

When Germany and Argentina face-off in the World Cup final at the Maracana Stadium tonight, it will be interesting to see how Argentina will try to cope with a Germany side that was extremely ruthless against the hosts Brazil in the semi-final stages.

When Germany and Argentina face-off in the World Cup final at the Maracana Stadium tonight, it will be interesting to see how Argentina will try to cope with a Germany side that was extremely ruthless against the hosts Brazil in the semi-final stages.

By Fred Kaweesi in Rio de Janeiro

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A combination of file photos shows Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero (L) in Ezeiza on May 31, 2014 and Germany's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in Rio de Janeiro on July 4, 2014. Germany will face Argentina in the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. AFP PHOTO

When Germany and Argentina face-off in the World Cup final at the Maracana Stadium tonight, it will be interesting to see how Argentina will try to cope with a Germany side that was extremely ruthless against the hosts Brazil in the semi-final stages.

Below is a guide to some of the interesting individual duels to look out for.
 
Goalkeepers

Manuel Neuer (Germany) v Sergio Romero (Argentina)

These two could decide the destiny of the World Cup trophy–whether in regular time or in the unlikely event that this fixture ends up in a shoot-out.

Romero has been fine so far. His two vital saves in the semi-final shoot-out against the Netherlands are the main reason Argentina are contesting the final.

But equally exciting has been Neuer. With him, Germany has played with a 12th outfield player as Neuer has reinvented the last line of defence in superb fashion.
 
Phillip Lahm (Germany) v Ezequiel Lavezzi (Argentina)

Lahm is a determined raider from deep. He will offer Germany’s front runners smooth support from the defensive third when possession is gained.

That said, Lahm’s defensive qualities will equally be tested by Lavezzi –a player known for his pace, hardworking style and dribbling ability.

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Germany's defender and captain Philipp Lahm (L) in Belo Horizonte on July 8, 2014 and Argentina's forward and captain Lionel Messi in Sao Paulo on July 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO

Benedikt Howedes (Germany) v Angel Di Maria (Argentina)

Usually deployed as a center-back at Schalke, Howedes has done a good job on the left full back position for Germany.
But if Di Maria is passed fit, Howedes will have his work cut out as the Real Madrid star has such immaculate skills on and off the ball.
 
Mats Hummels (Germany) v Sergio Aguero (Argentina)


Hummels is a strong defender with pace and great timing in the tackle. He has created a solid partnership with Boateng but one that will find a fit Aguero tricky to contain.

After missing Argentina’s first fixtures due to injury, Aguero returned with an encouraging run out against Netherlands. He should be in better health today to trouble the Germans.
 
Jerome Boateng (Germany) v Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Boateng is tall and does the basics expected of a defender.

He also uses the ball confidently.

But in Messi, he will come up against a genius, a four-time World Footballer of the Year and a player that will be easier dealt with if the Germans work as a unit to frustrate the Barcelona star.

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Germany's coach Joachim Loew (L) in Rio de Janeiro on July 4, 2014 and Argentina's coach Alejandro Sabella in Porto Alegre on June 25, 2014. AFP PHOTO

 
Sami Khedira (Germany) v Lucas Biglia (Argentina)


These two are grafters that tuck in well when the ball is lost and offer good width going forward when it is regained.

Just like Khedira, Biglia holds Argenina’s defensive midfield together alongside Javier Mascherano.

Both are good readers of the game with good tactical awareness and crisp passing.
 
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany) v Javier Mascherano (Argentina)

Germany coach Joachim Loew dubs him “the brain” of the national team. He is dynamic, energetic and direct. Although he largely operates in the center, Schweinsteiger is versatile enough to provide an option on the wing, either left or right.

Mascherano, Argentina’s midfield enforcer, will find the Bayern star a pain. He will need to keep one eye on Kroos and another watching over Schweinsteiger.
 
Toni Kroos (Germany) v Ezequiel Garray (Argentina)

Kroos has arguably been the best player in his position in this championship. The Bayern Munich midfielder has exuded lovely touches and shown great vision. He also passes the ball well out to the wide areas.

He will occasionally confront Garray, a defender that also passes well under pressure, is respected by colleagues and tackles cleanly.

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Germany's forward Thomas Mueller (R) runs with the ball as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar attempts a challenge during the semi-final football match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte on July 8, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.  AFP PHOTO

 
Miroslav Klose (Germany) v Martin Demicheles (Argentina)

Klose became the World Cup’s most prolific marksman this week, over-taking Ronaldo after netting his 16th goal in Germany’s 7-1 rout of Brazil. He’s such a classic finisher.

It will take good positional sense and intelligent aerial movement from Demicheles to contain this gangly forward.
 
Thomas Muller (Germany) v Marcos Rojo (Argentina)

Muller is a chance-per-goal striker. His work ethic in this tournament has equally been superb. He will shoulder Germany’s goal scoring burden today. Muller often looks to hit the space behind teams that play the high-line. He will certainly trouble Argentina.

But Rojo can do his bit and that is cover Argentina’s left side effectively.
 
Mezut Ozil (Germany) v Pablo Zabaleta (Argentina)

After a not-so-exciting start, Ozil has slowly grown into this tournament. He often keeps center-backs occupied with industry and trickery in restricted areas.

But Ozil will have to work extremely hard to outsmart Zabaleta, a forceful and good tackler with great drive. Zabaleta raids well from the deep areas and offers smooth support from the defensive third when possession is gained.
 
Coaches:

Joachim Loew (Germany) v Alejandro Sabella (Argentina)

Loew has been hailed as a ‘great tactician’ by soccer legends Pele and Diego Maradona.

But the German tactician will also be aware that its trophies that differentiate ‘great tacticians’ from ‘bad tacticians’.
Loew, who has one previous World Cup semi-final, the 2008 European Championship final and the Euro 2012 semi-final to show, is certainly aware that today’s final could be his moment.

However to achieve that, he will need to outsmart his Argentinean counterpart Sabella.

Since replacing Sergio Batista as Argentina coach, Sabella has been criticized for his cautious approach –reflected in just seven goals scored in the tournament this far despite boasting a star-studded cast of strikers. Argentinean fans have also failed to identify with their team’s style of football.

But the man who timidly set about his task when taking over from Batista, has grown into this tournament.
 

How the two World Cup finalists compare

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