July 11, 2014

Get ready for a disappointing final

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

For as many amazing moments and great games we have seen at the World Cup in Brazil, it’s very hard to imagine it ending with anything but a whimper.

Why? Because of the two teams involved.

After such an amazing thrashing of Brazil by Germany, many will be thinking that it is an offensive juggernaut capable of pounding in goals at will.


This German side is gifted with a lot of good offensive players, but always look to get a bit too cute when it comes down to it.

Case-in-point: Mesut Ozil passing instead of taking the open shot against Algeria in the quarterfinals. Had he not luckily collected the rebound and finally put it home – another opportunity he nearly missed – the Germans would’ve come back to regret it after the North Africans scored a consolation goal later.

And that 7-1 win? Chalk it up to Brazil’s poor tactics and inability to cobble together a decent defence. Of the four players on its back line, only injury-replacement Dante is considered a true defender.

At least Die Mannschaft has looked a lot better since finally moving captain Philipp Lahm to right back and playing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira as holding midfielders. Being able to use Lahm in attack out wide while having those two cover is a big asset for the final.

As for their opponent, this Argentina team is the last side you want to see if you enjoy exciting attacking football.

It really says something when you can have a team led by Lionel Messi and still look incredibly plodding with the ball and aimless in attack.

But that’s the style La Albiceleste have been intent on playing in Brazil, almost a slap to the face of the gracefully attacking hosts.

Even against the vastly inferior opponents it faced in the group stages, Argentina was happy to pass around the ball, defend when it had to and then wait for a moment of magic from Messi, which he was happy to supply.

That moment didn’t come against the Netherlands, but a couple of managing mistakes by Dutch manager Louis van Gaal helped Argentina advance via penalties.

What would have been the perfect end to this tournament would’ve been the Germans and Dutch battling to become the first European team to win it in South America while the Brazil-Argentina rivalry would have heated up the usually meaningless third-place game.

Instead, we’ll get a plodding affair for the final between a one-man team and an efficient-but-overrated side while two teams that couldn’t care less about finishing third.

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