Saturday, July 12, 2014

World Cup 2014: Rio’s Verdict

After undergoing plenty of matches which brought drama, bitterness, anger, joy, and tears, finally, we reach the final stages of World Cup 2014 that concludes Germany and Argentina to craft a new history in Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. That means there will be a historical match with full of passion, excitement, and spirit coming up by hours!!! Yet, in the same time, sadly, it is also a sign that this 4 years event is going to meet its end T_T

This final between Germany and Argentina is really interesting. It is one of the most ideal scenario for final game by referring both teams performance during world cup 2014. They have shown to the world that they were able to beat other world class team during the tournament. And this final is surely a deserved prizes for them.

This final game between Germany and Argentina is also the replay of world cup final in 1986 and 1990 where Germany and Argentina crowned the Holy Grail alternately. In 1986, Argentina beat Germany 3-2 in Mexico City, and in 1990, Germany beat Argentina in Rome, by last minute penalty kick. At that time, Germany which was still called as West Germany, was backed by Lothar Matthaeus, Rudi Voeller, Andreas Brehme and Jurgen Klinsmann, under the supervision of most honored man in their football history, Franz Beckenbauer. Meanwhile, Argentina was led by their living legend, Diego Maradona. Since then, the rivalries between them stays up till this time.

Starting from the old rivalries and meetings in the past, there are several interesting facts about Argentina and Germany considered for the upcoming match.
  • Final between Argentina and Germany in 1986 and 1990 are the only final in a row which ever happened in the world cup history.
    That’s why there is no question if Argentina and Germany were considered as the best in the world in that era. Then, this world cup final in 2014, is their third meeting in world cup final.
  • No European team could win world cup in America.
    This myth might extend in this world cup 2014.
Year
Host
Winner
1930
Uruguay
Uruguay
1950
Brazil
Uruguay
1962
Chile
Brazil
1970
Mexico
Brazil
1978
Argentina
Argentina
1986
Mexico
Argentina
1994
United States
Brazil
2014
Brazil
???

  • Argentina always lose against Germany in the last 3 world cup meetings. 
    Argentina vs Germany in 3 last world cups meetings and Argentina always lost.
Year
Round
Result
1990
Final
0-1
2006
Quarterfinal
1-1 (2–4) p
2010
Quarterfinal
0-4



Further, in this article, I want to give some thought and prediction about the upcoming games between Germany and Argentina in the world cup final 2014.

Germany


Strong point:


  • Enjoyable teamwork and strong cohesion of the entire team

I think most of people would agree with this statement. In this world cup 2014, among the high-profile team, only Germany who could fulfill the public expectation. An absolute winning against Portugal in the opening match until a courage winning against the host, Brazil, in the semifinal stage are the evidence how formidable Germany is lately. 

Obviously the quality of the Germans players has major part on their success, but cohesion and teamwork of the teams has more important roles. Germany are playing as a team, not individually, which is not so familiar among the other high-profile contestant in world cup 2014. They share every load and expectation throughout the team and did not only rely on one high-profile player of theirs. Amount of goal they shared in every line is a proof of their teamwork and team cohesion. From defender such as Matt Hummels, ball winning midfielder like Sami Khedira, a conductor such as Toni Kroos, a playmaker like Mesut Oezil, and Mario Goetze, until forwards like Thomas Mueller, Andre Schuerrle and Miroslav Klose are able to score whenever they have chances.

This teamwork and strong team cohesion are truly the most dangerous and important weapon of Germany to beat Argentina in the final game.


  • Experience player in the world cup
The higher stage of tournament, the more pressure will come. And when both teams who are contesting have the same quality in players and the way they play, the experience will provide the difference between them. And this time, and it is fair to say that Germany has this advantages, especially in world cup.

Even though Germany are occupied by young players in the squad, but in the case of experience, they already have it more than enough. These young players was mainly belong to the previous world cup squad in 2010. Mesut Oezil, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer were debutant of world cup at that time, who backed Germany to beat England and Argentina convincingly in the knockout phase. Despite, in the end, they had to feel the bitter lost to Spain in the semifinal. And the other case, Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, and Per Mertesacker were debutant in 2006 when the world cup was held on their beloved country. They were disappointed about their lost against Italy in the semifinal and had to see the Italians lift the world cup trophies in front of their own people. With all these worthy experiences in two previous world cup, all of the Germans I mentioned before, are still under or equal 30 years old or even younger! There is only two guys who is older than 30 years in this current Germany squad, those are Miroslav Klose and Roman Weidenfeller. Nevertheless, Klose case is different. This 36 years old is exceptional especially on his experience. This guy ever stood alongside with Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack in the final 2002 and had to witness the Brazilians kissed the Holy Grail in Yokohama after hammering them.

These worthy experience shared among Germany players will be another key for them to bring back the world cup trophy to their grasp after 24 years absent.


  • This current squad is, arguably, the best golden generation of all time.
Germany ever won the world cup three times once they were still called West Germany. When they won world cup, there were always golden generation included in the squad. Helmut Rahn era in 1954, Gerd Mueller and Franz Beckenbauer era in 1974, and the prominent trio era of Lothar Matthaeus - Andreas Brehme - Juergen Klinsmann in 1990, are the list of Germany golden generation who succeeded to lift and kiss the Holy Grail. Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack era in the early millenium was also considered one of the golden generation, even though, they had to fail in the hand of magnificent Brazil in 2002.

And with the amazing player in every line, this current Germany squad in my opinion, is one of the golden generation as well, arguably, the best of all-time, ever. It is maybe not fair to say the best statement, due to my limited observation. Nevertheless, whatever it is, the best or not, this present golden generation need to prove to their predecessors that they are deserved that status, by winning the world cup 2014.


  • Never lost in the penalty shootout scenario
Penalty shootout scenario has been the decisive moment in several previous world cup final. And when talking about penalty shootout, maybe Germans is one the team who always love to face it. This is another strong point of Germany.

First ever penalty shootout in the world cup was in the semifinal of 1982 between West Germany and France where West Germany won the shootout and progressed to the final. Since then, West Germany / Germany never lost to any penalty shootout challenges up to this present time. The record is still rolling on. Last time Germany had penalty shootout in world cup was in 2006, when they beat Argentina 4-2 in front their own publics. 

Year
Round
Opponent
Result
1982
Semifinal
Vs France
3-3
Penalties (5-4)
1986
Quarterfinal
Vs Mexico
0-0
Penalties (4-1)
1990
Semifinal
Vs England
1-1
Penalties (4-3)
2006
Quarterfinal
Vs Argentina
1-1
Penalties (4-2) 

The history of being beaten by Germany in the last penalty shootout and Germany’s history never lost to any penalty shootout in the world cup is a strong message to Argentina to avoid this scenario. 


Weaknesses:


Anti-climax in the late stage of tournament
This is the biggest non-technical problem of Germany in last decades, as one of my focus in my previous article. In several previous competition, Germany were so good in group stages and early of knockout phase but always failed in the end.

They reached semifinal or final in WC 2002, WC 2006, Euro 2008, WC 2010, and Euro 2012, even though they had to lose on that late stages. In one side it was very brilliant to keep consistency in a decade, yet on the other hand, always lost in the late stage was the problem need to be stopped.

They have to overcome this problem if they want to start winning a big competition. Because, this awful history cannot be continued before it roots into a curse for them.




Argentina

Strong point:

  • Lionel Messi as Diego Maradona .
Everyone will agree that he is the backbone of Argentina. Despite Argentina has other famous stars like Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Kun Aguero, Ezequiel Lavezzi,  etc, but Messi is still considered as the focal point in this team. And in this world cup 2014, he showed how important is his presence in Argentina.

His performance in this world cup 2014 is completely different with the previous world cup he followed, in 2006 and 2010. He paid his terrible performance on those previous world cup this time. He played important roles and helped the team to secure a place in the final. He scored 4 amazing goals in the group stage which led Argentina to step up to the knockout phase. In the knockout phase, he helped the team and became the architect of Angel Di Maria’s and Gonzalo Higuain’s decisive goal against Swiss and Belgium. In the Semifinal, he kept roaming in front of Netherlands defense to assure the Netherlands fullback stayed in his place and was cautious to perform any overlap.

And obviously, Messi is expected by the public of Argentina to give the best of him in the upcoming world cup 2014 final game. Argentina is not perfect a team like Barcelona. He won everything with Barcelona but nothing with Argentina. In Argentina there is no players like Xavi Hernandez and Andres Inisiesta who always feed spoil pass for him. He has to be the difference. The only option to beat magnificent Germany in the final is Messi has to be The Best Messiah than ever. If Argentina needs somebody to do the impossible, it has to be him. That is a fair expectation from Argentina public after everything he did with Barcelona. That was the same expectation of Diego Maradona in 1986.

Since young, he is considered as the future of Maradona, Argentina's legend and hero in world cup 1986. His small physics, his left-footed, the way he dribbles the ball, the way he kicks the ball, and the position he plays are totally a copy of Diego Maradona. He even repeated two legendary move of Diego Maradona in 1986, score a goal with hand (known as Hand of God) and by dribbling the ball from the middle of the pitch when he played for Barcelona. Since then no doubt if every eyes in Argentina grows their expectation of Messi, to be as brilliant as Maradona in 1986.

In this world cup 2014, those similarity between Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi is once again, repeated. Right now, Messi is 27 years old, the very same age with Maradona when he helped Argentina winning world cup in 1986. And also, they share the same opponent in the world cup final, a formidable opponent from Bavarians land, Germany. In addition, they play the world cup final in America. Maradona was playing in Mexico, and now Messi plays in Brazil. With all of these similarity with Diego Maradona, and if the soul of Maradona is still inside him, then this is the right time for Messi to use The Maradona’s Legacy to lead Argentina meeting their third world cup trophies.

  • Well-organized in defense and The Angels inside Sergio Romero
Personally, this fact is quite interesting and surprising. Because maybe most of us would think that a team like Argentina will stick with the image of attacking styles. But in this world cup that is not happening. As Argentina coah, Alejandro Sabella thinks differently.

Alejandro Sabella applies the modern football into his Argentina team. He uses 4-2-3-1 formation as most of modern team did. He put two holding midfielder to support the defenders and rely on the quartet of Angel Di Maria, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gonzalo Higuain and of course Lionel Messi to launch the attack. With this scheme, Argentina prefers to wait until their opponent lose the ball before they perform counter attack. When they are performing counter attack, they will exploit the speed of their forwards.

This formation is very effective for Argentina so far even though Argentina did not score many goals like Germany. Yet with this scheme, Argentina is only conceded three goals during tournament. The quartet defenders of Argentina becomes so firm with the presence of two holding midfielder, Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia, in front of them. That combination creates difficulties for every forwards who want to come inside to the penalty box. This is the main reason why the Netherlands forwards, Van Persie and Arjen Robben, could not create plenty of chances during 120 minutes gameplay in the semifinal.

This very well organized defense of Argentina become so perfect with the presence of Sergio Romero in front of Argentina’s goal. Honestly, I was disappointed not to include him as the list of the angels in my previous article. And I was so wrong about him after seeing his performance in the penalty shootout semifinal. He did his job very well as the last line of the Argentina defense at that time. And clearly, besides Lionel Messi, he is the man who is expected to keep Argentina’s goal remain safe in the final game.


Weaknesses:


Forwards dull and Messi show
During the world cup, Argentina attack did not perform as firstly expected. Group of famous name in their forwards could not provide a lot of goals. This condition forced Lionel Messi as the backbone of the team to take this responsibility which result one man show performance of him. This is what happened in almost of every Argentina matches in world cup 2014.

If Argentina want to bring 1986’s memory back, they cannot keep this situation. They have to move on. They have to deal with this problems and find the way out. Messi is extremely great, but Argentina cannot expect him too much. He cannot be brilliant for the entire time. Besides, Germany is formidable team with good teamwork whether in defense or attack.




Prediction

According to the analysis explained above, I think, it is already clear that there is no other way for Germany to lose this final when they are able to give amazing performance as they used to. The rule of thumb will say that as long as Germany stick with their natural performance, they will win the game, whatever the scenario is.

And also, the myth and folktale about European teams never win world cup in America will have no significant effect as long as Germany stays cool and stick to the scheme they used to play. They are going to break that story.

So I can see that the World Cup Final 2014 game will be dominated by Germany. Germany will be the side who has the initiative to build the attack and Germany will hold more ball possession. Meanwhile Argentina will be waiting until the time comes to launch the fast counter attack. But once the anti-climax sickness of Germany comes up, then it results Germany to play below their standards, they will be punished immediately by the effective gameplay of Argentina.


Let Rio de Janeiro decide which team is going to win...



4 comments:

  1. German is my favorite country. I do support Germany squad! :D
    best regard from Golden Wings
    keumala-goldenwings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for coming to my humble blog.
      I just love this sport, and I often write a lot of things about it.
      Keep writing fellas!

      Delete
  2. udah tak link in tuh Ri, gantian dong :p

    ReplyDelete