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Fiji Time: 12:25 PM on Wednesday 24 September

/ Front page / Sport

It's the final day

Rashneel Kumar
Monday, July 14, 2014

BY the time many of you read this column, the 2014 FIFA World Cup champion will be crowned.

Either Germany or Argentina, at the end of the day the beautiful game will emerge the winner.

For a month now, football fans around the globe have been entertained by some top class action on and off the field. Today that comes to an end.

It will be another four long years before we get to see football at its very best again.

From Luis Suarez's bite to Brazil's humiliating finish, this has truly been a World Cup full of the unexpected.

Hopefully that "unexpected" run rubs off Germany today. They can become the first European team to win the World Cup on South American soil.

Brazil will be remembered for hosting one of the biggest and the best World Cups as well as fielding one of the worst teams in their football history.

After the embarrassing 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the Germans in the semi-final, Brazil was shunned by Netherlands 0-3 in the third/fourth place play-off yesterday. How bad they can be?

Here's some interesting stats on Germany and Argentina from UK tabloid Daily Mail:

Germany are set to play in their eighth World Cup final; more than any other nation. They have won three titles.

They have won just one of their past four appearances in the World Cup final (1990 v Argentina).

Germany have now reached a World Cup final in each of the past seven decades (1954, 1966, 1974, 1982 and 86, 1990, 2002 and now 2014).

Argentina are set to play in their fifth World Cup final, they have won two and lost two of the previous four.

This will be the third World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. They met in successive finals in 1986 and 1990, with each team lifting the title (3-2 Argentina in 1986, 1-0 Germany in 1990).

No other fixture has been played as often in a World Cup final as Germany v Argentina.

This is the 10th time that teams from Europe and South America face each other in the final. Seven of these finals have been won by the teams from South America.

Both sides will face off for the seventh time at the World Cup, the only fixture that has been played as often is Brazil v Sweden (seven times).

Germany have won three and lost just one of the previous six World Cup encounters with Argentina (D2). Germany also won the penalty shootout in 2006 against Argentina.

Germany had eliminated Argentina from the 2006 World Cup (1-1 AET and 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-final) and from the 2010 World Cup (4-0 in the quarter-final).

The 4-0 defeat in 2010 is Argentina's heaviest World Cup defeat in the past 40 years (0-4 v Netherlands in 1974).

Argentina have won nine out of 20 games against Germany (D5 L6), though. The last meeting (August 2012, Frankfurt) saw Argentina win 3-1.

No side have kept as many clean sheets as Argentina in the 2014 World Cup (four, Germany have three).

Argentina are yet to concede a goal in the knock-out stages at this tournament (despite playing extra-time in two of their three games).

On the past five occasions that Germany have failed to score in a World Cup match, they have lost.

The last time Germany scored in a World Cup match and lost was the 1994 quarter-final defeat to Bulgaria (1-2).

Germany are unbeaten in 17 internationals (W12, D5).

Argentina haven't been trailing in any of their six games at the 2014 World Cup, Germany just eight minutes (v Ghana).

Argentina have won four out of five penalty shootouts at the World Cup, Germany won four out of four (including the one against Argentina in 2006).

Miroslav Klose has scored more World Cup goals than any other player in history and as many as the entire current Argentinian squad (16).

Only Lothar Matthäus (25) has played more World Cup games than Klose (23, as many as Paolo Maldini).

Klose is the only player in both squads who has already played in a World Cup final (2002, 0-2 v Brazil).

Argentina's Angel di Maria and Marcos Rojo lead the way in terms of crosses attempted from open play, with Rojo's haul of 25 so far bettered only by teammate di Maria (32).

Thomas Müller has played a hand in 16 World Cup goals in 12 appearances at the finals (10 goals and six assists).

Müller (2010 and 2014) and Klose (2002 and 2006) are the only players in history to score 5+ goals at consecutive World Cup tournaments.

Müller is the first-ever Golden Boot winner to reproduce his number of goals at the following World Cup (five goals in 2010, five in 2014).

Müller could also become the first player ever to win the Golden Boot in successive World Cups.

Lionel Messi has been the most creative player at World Cup 2014, setting up a tournament-high 21 goal-scoring chances for teammates.

Messi has embarked on a tournament-high 65 dribbles so far, completing (another-high) 39 of them.

No German player has created more chances for their teammates in the 2014 World Cup than Mesut Özil (15).

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has attempted a competition-high 509 passes so far.

Mascherano has also made the most tackles so far - 28.

Andre Schürrle has scored three times in just 156 minutes of action so far at this World Cup.

Only Tim Howard (27) has made more saves in the competition than Manuel Neuer (23).

Lionel Messi has scored five World Cup goals so far, but none of them in the knockout stages.

Angel di Maria or Sami Khedira will become the 10th player to win both the Champions League and the World Cup in the same season. Seven of the previous nine have been German (Bayern Munich 1974) along with Christian Karembeu in 1998 and Roberto Carlos in 2002.





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