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Final Preview – Messi’s Baggio moment?

July 12th, 2014 by · No Comments · Features, Football

Argentina v. Germany on sunday will the third final in which they’ve faced each other.

The first, 1986, was a 3-2 cracker but the last, in 1990, was settled with an Andreas Brehme penalty on 85th minutes after a dull stalemate of a game. Let’s hope this one is better.

Argentina have not been very good, except defensively. They have kept four clean sheets in six games, but scored only two goals in the knockout stages. The key question is can an out of sorts Messi do ‘a Baggio’ and drag his under-performing team through a tournament all the way to the final.

Germany

Germany

Argentina

Argentina

The focus had been of Argentina’s attacking options but there most effective group have been the defence who have achieved a string of one-nil or nil-nil games. They won’t, however, be winning any games. That responsibility falls to their attacking players such as Sergio Agüero, Gonzalo Higuaín, Ángel di María, if fit, and of course Lionel Messi.

Germany’s progress has been much more positive and dramatic. Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos have grown into the tournament and now look an effective bridge between their increasingly solid defence and the best array of attacking talent in this World Cup.

The Germans may have benefitted from the mental and tactical collapse from the Brazilian team but they still needed the composure and talent to exploit that opportunity. Argentina will not be as naive as Brazil but they will be cognisant of the treat that Germany pose. That alone will prevent Argentina from pressing too high and too early.

An early goal for Germany could mean a rout as Argentina would be forced to ‘play up’ and leave the kind of space that Brazil left on tuesday night. The longer it stays goalless the more likely that Messi will rescue them one more time. But for that to happen they will have to, at some point, take risks.

For us at WCO we hope it’s a great game to wrap up a great tournament but fear that, for Messi, this WILL be his Baggio moment but, as in 1994, remembered very much for the final result, not the process.

 

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