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Teams plot final battle tactics

Sunday, July 13, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - Germany and Argentina plotted battle tactics for the World Cup final as Brazil prepared for an unwanted third place play-off with the Netherlands.

Both finalists were at their respective base camps seeking to keep the lid on mounting tensions and skyrocketing expectations ahead of tomorrow's Maracana showpiece.

The final is the latest in a series of World Cup encounters between Germany and Argentina which includes the 1986 and 1990 finals.

Memories of the two sides' stormy 2006 meeting — which ended in a brawl after Germany's victory on penalties — were revived on Friday.

German team manager Oliver Bierhoff said he had warned players to keep cool if tempers fray in the Maracana.

"The Argentinians are very warm people and great hosts, but on the pitch they have a bit of a personality change and get fired up," said Bierhoff.

"They have fire in their eyes, which we will have to be ready for and not provoke them.

"They play hard, aggressive physical football, which means we can't steer away from our football philosophy and must focus on what we have to do."

Bierhoff said the Germans were preparing for a tougher challenge than their 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-finals.

Argentina trained behind closed doors as they readied to head for Rio, where an estimated army of 100,000 Argentine fans have travelled ahead of the final.

Argentina and Germany provided seven of the 10 players on FIFA's shortlist for player of the tournament.

Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria were included from Argentina with Germany represented by skipper Phillip Lahm, five-goal scorer Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, and Mats Hummels.

Germany's Manuel Neuer and Argentine counterpart Sergio Romero both made the shortlist for best goalkeeper along with Costa Rica's Keylor Navas.

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