Argentina vs Germany preview
RIO DE JANEIRO - From 32 teams we are down to the final two. Well, four if you count the horrible 3rd/4th place playoff that nowhere cares about. Less instead focus on the two that everyone does care about: Argentina vs Germany.
Arguably not the two best teams in the World Cup, but then again, 2014 has been a year where no one team has come out and blown everyone out the water.
Argentina needed early heroics from Lionel Messi to even progress out of the group stage. The skipper scored four of his six country's goals in the opening round, with one coming through an own goal. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Germany, on the other hand, started like a house on fire, smashing ten man Portugal 4-0; but then started to struggled somewhat as well. They drew with Ghana and snuck past the USA to ensure they finish on top of their group.
Once out the group, the tight victories continued for the South American's with one nil wins over Switzerland and Belgium, before disposing of Holland in penalties.
Germany were unconvincing as well. They needed extra time to beat Algeria, beat France by one before putting in the most surprising performance of the campaign by beating the hosts Brazil 7-1.
But what these results show, is that both of these teams have the ability to grind out wins when they matter most. It doesn't have to be pretty, just ask Italy in 2006 or Spain in 2010. Even go back and ask the English Rugby team that won the World Cup in 2003. There are no comments on the score sheet.
These results come as a bit of surprise with the amount of firepower at both teams' disposal. Thomas Muller can't stop scoring in World Cup, he's gotten already to his name and his compatriot Miroslav Klose recently overtook Brazilian Ronaldo as the all-time leading goal scorer of the competition with 16. On the other side of the tie, you have Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero and Ángel di María all spear headed by the best of them all, Messi.
Yet with all this firepower, all those big names, something inside of me says there won't be more than two goals at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
Germany to win it, but only just.
Marc Lewis is an EWN sports reporter.