The 2014 World Cup final was not a classic but it would be hard to argue that the Germans were not deserving winners. They were the best collective unit, achieved the outstanding result in the World Cup demolishing the hosts, Brazil, 7-1 in the semifinals and were by far the most consistent team in the tournament. Most importantly though was even when things didn’t quite click for Germany in the final they didn’t panic and crucially took their chance when it was presented.
Argentina did what they could and made Germany fight right to the end though the Albiceleste will rue their generosity when they had gilt-edged opportunities to score. The fact that they didn’t force a proper save out of Manuel Neuer will gnaw at them. Their key forward players didn’t fire and Ángel di María’s absence robbed the Argentines of one of their few in-form attacking figures.
Interestingly, this was the seventh time the Germans and Argentineans have met in World Cup history and the third occasion they’ve contested the final.
Patience versus Obduracy:
The contrasting approaches of the Germans and the Argentineans made for a fascinating match as Alejandro Sabella’s side effectively challenged Germany to break them down. Playing a 4-4-2 Argentina was compact and disciplined soaking up the pressure and making a number of dangerous raids down the other end.
Mats Hummels’ pace was examined early on as Argentina looked to attack the German backline with direct, forceful runs. Indeed for all the possession the Germans had Argentina created a number of dangerous opportunities, though they didn’t test Manuel Neuer. The high line Germany employed invited Argentina to exploit the gaps behind which the Albiceleste was happy to attack.
Joachim Löw’s side was rocked by the late withdrawal of Sami Khedira and then later on in the game when his replacement the unfortunate Christoph Kramer was taken off in the 30th minute. The Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder’s head crashed off Ezequiel Garay’s shoulder as the latter attempted a shoulder charge. The German medical crew should have called for a substitution straight away but Kramer was left on for a further 10 minutes before he departed the pitch looking dazed and confused.
The disruption was naturally unwanted but Joachim Löw avoided shifting Philipp Lahm back into the center opting instead to bring on André Schürrle on and asking Mesut Özil to play in more central areas.
Despite enjoying a lot of possession the loss of Khedira seemed to affect the rhythm of the German midfield but they still held strong as the Argentines grew in confidence as the game wore on.