It’s July 13. Back on June 13, we got excited about the World Cup starting. Brazil gave up an own goal early to Croatia, but bounced back, thanks to a dubious penalty call, to win 3-1. And that may have been the highlight of the tournament for the hosts.
After that, there was a scoreless tie against Mexico, an easy win over Cameroon, the worst team in the tournament, a win on penalties against Chile, a brutal win over Colombia, followed by horrific losses to Germany and the Netherlands. The Brazilians hadn’t lost two straight matches at home since 1940, when they lost the last game of the Roca Cup to Argentina 5-1 and then lost a Copa Rio Branco match to Uruguay 4-3.
But enough about Brazil. On to the teams playing for the championship.
Germany vs Argentina at Rio de Janeiro
There haven’t been two sets of countries that have played each other more than once in a World Cup final: Brazil and Italy squared off in 1970 and 1994. And Argentina and Germany did it in 1986 and 1990. So today is the third matchup, provided you don’t think West Germany is not the same as today’s Germany. (If you do, you’re wrong. The country didn’t change names. It was the Federal Republic of Germany in 1986 and 1990 and it still is today.)
Both countries have female heads of government. German chancellor Angela Merkel is supposed to come to the game. Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is not planning to attend, although she did meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Kirchner says she has a very sore throat and she also wants to celebrate her grandson’s first birthday. But, she will be in Brasilia next week for a conference. Go figure.
Kirchner has had a rough few years. Her husband, who also had been President of Argentina, died in 2010. In 2011, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Then, doctors checked again and said she didn’t. She was reelected in 2013, but later that year doctors found bleeding in her brain from a head injury and she had to rest up. Now, her Vice-President is charged with corruption. Along with a lot of other people in Argentina. And the economy there might go into recession.
So, the end result is that Germany is likely going to win Sunday no matter what happens on the field. Because Argentina is going to need a loan. So they better be nice to Angela Merkel.
As for the action on the field, Germany looks unbeatable. Which hasn’t meant much in this tournament. Appearances have been deceptive. Argentina’s defense is too well organized to give up seven goals. The only team to score more than one in a game this tournament against Argentina was Nigeria, who managed to get to two.
The Germans probably have a good plan in place to neutralize Lionel Messi. They seem so well prepared and have been playing better as a unit than any other team. Brazil was hoping to beat Germany in the semis on emotion. Germany used talent and tactics. The latter won.
Argentina leads the all time series with 9 wins. Germany has 6 wins. There have been 5 ties.
I am predicting a 2-0 German win, preventing Brazilian fans from the humiliation of watching their noisy neighbors raise the World Cup in front of them.