The winners of the 20th FIFA World Cup will be decided in a mouth-watering clash between two giants of international football in the historic Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Between them, Argentina and Germany have won 5 World Cup tournaments and both teams make part of the relatively short list of 8 nations that have won football’s greatest prize.
The three nations in this list hailing from South America (Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay) have won the World Cup a combined nine times. The other five nations in this list are Europeans (Germany, Italy, Spain, France & England) and overall they have 10 such titles to their name. A victory for Argentina in Rio will tie the score between both continents.
Argentina and Germany will be participating in the same World Cup final for a record third time. Maradona and co. won in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico by 3-2 thanks to goals from Jose Luis Brown, Jorge Valdano and Jorge Burruchaga. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Rudi Voller completed the scoring.
Four years later, both teams clashed once more in Italy during an ill-tempered affair with a controversial penalty converted by Andreas Brehme deciding the contest.
World Cup Matches Between Argentina & Germany
Argentina – (West) Germany
1 – 3
0 – 0
3 – 2
0 – 1
1 – 1 (Germany win 4-2 on pens)
South Africa 2010
0 – 4
Both nations have met each other six times in a World Cup competition whereby two matches were played in the group stage, another two matches were quarter-finals and the rest were the above-mentioned finals. Argentina have so far been victorious only once. However, significantly, this was the only time both nations played a World Cup game in the American continents as Diego Maradona lifted the prestigious trophy in Mexico City.
Argentina-Germany head-to-head encounters in World Cup History:
The most recent encounter between La Albiceleste and Die Mannschaft was four years ago where Joachim Loew’s team annihilated Maradona’s disorganized side that was full of talent but severely lacking any tactical nous and leadership from their head coach. The front three of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez were isolated from the rest of the team as the German machine mercilessly ripped apart through the heart of the Argentinean defense time and time again. Out of Germany’s starting eleven from that day in the Green Point Stadium, ten have played in Brazil in the past month. Many feel that this German side has finely matured enough to final deliver another World Cup trophy, having reached the final in 2002 and the semi-finals in the following two tournaments.
Both teams have been quite miserly in defense in Brazil as Argentina have conceded just three goals (all in the group stages) whilst Germany have conceded four. La Albiceleste have only scored eight goals in six matches, half of which came from Lionel Messi. On the other hand, the Germans have scored a mammoth 17 goals.
Die Mannschaft also have a significant advantage in the international experience front. The starting eleven against Brazil had a combined total of 730 caps which is significantly greater than the combined 493 caps of the Argentinean starting eleven against the Netherlands. Argentina’s back four and goalkeeper in that game had 186 caps among them. Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller have five more caps between them.
Among them, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain have 68 international goals. Miroslav Klose has 71.
Vis-à-vis local leagues, Argentina only have three players in their who ply their trade in the Argentinean League; they have the same number playing for Manchester City (Aguero, Zabaleta, Demichelis). On the other hand, Germany only have seven players that do NOT play in the Bundesliga. This may help the German players to get used to each other’s playing style quicker and easier. The fluent nature of their play may actually stem partly from this fact.
As can be seen, most statistics seem to be favoring a Germany victory. Nevertheless, all this will be meaningless amongst the fanfare and noise of the Maracana. The only numbers relevant will be those on the scoreboard come the final whistle.
Finally, below is a list of some of Miroslav Klose’s most notable achievements in international football.
Miroslav Klose Facts
• Scored 71 goals in 136 international caps.
• Germany never lost a match he’s scored in
• Scored a record 16 goals in 22 World Cup matches
• Has participated in 15 victories, 3 draws and 4 losses in World Cup tournaments
• He’s the only player to score at least four goals in three different World Cup tournaments.
• Has scored in four different World Cups, a feat previously reached by Pele and Uwe Seeler.
• Has participated in a record 4 World Cup semi-finals. If he plays against Argentina, it will be his 2nd final.
• All of his five goals in Korea-Japan 2002 came from headers (a World Cup record)
• Has scored three goals so far against Argentina in the World Cup – one in 2006, two in 2010.
• Has also scored three goals in the European Championships (two in 2008, one in 2012)