Wed | Dec 8, 2021

A European Cup win in the Americas?

Published:Sunday | July 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM

History will be made if Germany win today's World Cup final. Captained by Phillip Lahm, the Germans would be the first European team to win when the Cup has been staged in the Americas. It won't be easy, but the indicators are pointing to a win for Germany.

Thanks to the schedule, German captain Phillip Lahm and his team had their feet up as they watched Argentina struggle to overcome a stubborn Dutch team in the second World Cup semi-final on Wednesday. That tussle was a 0-0 stalemate after 120 minutes. The Argentines won the resulting penalty shoot out.

A day earlier in the first semi, the Germans strolled to a 7-1 domination of Brazil.

Given the role the hot Brazilian weather has played in this World Cup, the Germans have drawn the lucky card. In seven previous World Cups played in the Americas, South American teams have won. Among those are two wins by Argentina, one at home in 1978 against Holland and the other in Mexico in 1986.

So the extra day of rest is a bonus. Ironically, the 1986 Argentine triumph came at the expense of West Germany.

Lahm's men have one more plus. With an average age of 26.3 years old, the German squad is 2.6 years younger than the Argentines. That might counterbalance the advantage South American teams always have when the World Cup comes to their continent.

Brilliant display

Argentina are not helpless. Their captain Lionel Messi was quiet against Holland, but has already scored five times and laid on the goal scored by Angel Di Maria against Belgium in the quarter-final. An apparent reluctance to dribble might disappear in the biggest match of his career.

A brilliant display would add a crown jewel to his reputation as one of the game's greatest player. So far, he has probed, delighted with super set pieces and passes and drawn defenders away from others. With Manchester City hit man Sergio Aguero back, and Gonzalo Higuain always working, the German defence will have more to think about than Messi.

The Argentine defence will have its work cut out too. Thanks to mainly Miroslav Klose, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos, the Germans are scoring almost three goals a game. Subtract the seven they piled against Brazil, and the goals per game number is two.

Argentina have scored eight goals in six games.

The numbers seem to add up to a historic German victory, but a moment of Messi magic could change everything. If he plays the way that only he can, Argentina could still win. In the process, Messi would earn the final jewel in the crown of greatness.

Hubert Lawrence has correctly predicted the results of 45 of the 62 World Cup played so far, including all 14 in the knockout round.