What to Expect for the 2014 World Cup Final
I must confess I have high hopes for the upcoming World Cup final. Thus far, the 2014 World Cup has been probably the most exciting and enjoyable sporting event that I’ve seen in my entire life. From the moment that the reigning champions Spain were booted out so quickly, to Luis Suarez’s incredible performance against England, followed up by his ridiculous bite, to the Cinderella-like run by Costa Rica, to the tremendous fight displayed by the Americans, to the brilliant Dutch comeback to beat Mexico, to countless thrilling extra time games and penalty kick shootouts, to the way Germany dispatched with the hosts Brazil…What more could anyone ask for?
Well, I for one am eagerly anticipating a final for the ages. We have two tremendous soccer nations in Argentina and Germany, which have both come to this point with differing paths of success. Germany’s team is all about the machine efficiency that so often surrounds that nation’s culture. Every player oozes of talent (even their bench) and they each fit so nice and well together to create such magical passing moves. Up top Thomas Muller is the prototypical German striker; not the flashiest or trickiest, but certainly the most clinical and capable striker I’ve seen at this tournament.
Meanwhile Argentina is all about passion and love, and the devotion to an icon that can change any game in a single heartbeat. I am talking, of course, about Lionel Messi, the heir to the Argentinean soccer throne long held by Diego Maradona. Messi is a prophet of the game. He has won everything at Barcelona, is the club’s all time leading scorer at the age of 27, but hasn’t yet conquered the world. With the final begin held in South America, many think that this is his chance.
But he isn’t alone in his quest. The Argentineans have shown a strong cohesiveness throughout the tournament, especially in defense. Like the Germans a collective spirit runs strong. So this should all set up for a thrilling final, right?
Well, I hope so. The problem with games of this magnitude is that both teams may set up not to lose. This is largely what happened in the semifinal match between the Netherlands and Argentina. Both teams held players back, only a handful of chances came about, and we drudged slowly to a penalty shootout. For me that would be no way to close out what has been such a fantastic World Cup!
I want goals. We all want goals. As much as all the talk is about Messi and his legacy, the same could be said for this core group of German stars, who’ve reached the late stages of a handful of recent tournaments only to lose when the games mattered most. I think both teams have something to prove, and for that reason I hope we’ll see a lively and entertaining game. As much as I would love to see a 5-4 thriller, I would be perfectly satisfied with 3-2, or maybe even a 2-1 extra time victory. But regardless of what the scoreline reads at the end of Sunday’s game, I fully expect to witness Lionel Messi lifting the 2014 World Cup after a wonderful match!