World Cup 2014 final preview: Germany v Argentina
Since reunification, odds-on 4/6 favourites Germany have beaten World Cup final opponents Argentina once from eight attempts in 90 minutes. Yet, Coral make Die Mannschaft 13/10 favourites to get the job done in normal time.
It’s hard not to have stood back in awe of the 7-1 demolition inflicted by Joachim Low’s lads on tournament hosts Brazil in the semis. That penultimate hurdle has been the stumbling block for Germany at three of the last four tournaments (2006 and 2010 World Cups and Euro 2012), but it’s one they cleared on South American soil with a real swagger.
Argentina, 12/5 to win in 90 minutes, have made far less glamorous progress to the final, however. Over-reliant on Lionel Messi, Alejandro Sabella’s side are 6/5 to lift the trophy. It’s 11/5 on a draw that would mean extra time and/or penalties.
While star turn Messi toiled in the drab goalless draw with the Netherlands, midfield destroyer Javier Mascherano and goalie Sergio Romero starred as La Albiceleste advanced on penalties. It’s 11/2 that the final goes to a shoot-out, just as the 2006 meeting in the quarters did.
Look to the Bayern Munich contingent in German ranks for goals here. Die Mannschaft’s leading marksman Thomas Muller needs one more to become joint tournament top-scorer with Colombia counterpart James Rodriguez. Because Muller has notched more assists, however, he will snatch the Golden Boot if he scores. It’s 5/4 on him netting anytime.
Why not back Muller being on target and a Germany win in 90 minutes, though, as enhanced odds of 7/2 (from 3/1) are available to Coral customers, if you stake a maximum of £20? As if that boosted price isn’t reason enough, he scored first in the last tournament meeting between Die Mannschaft and Argentina. An attractive 5/1 also says Muller with net the opener again.
Midfielder Toni Kroos bagged a brace as Low’s lads battered Brazil. He is an outside shout at 25/1 to equal or better that double here. Punters may also want to take a more modest, but equally tempting price of 4/1 on Kroos taking a chance in regulation time.
The World Cup’s all-time top scorer, Miroslav Klose, may alternatively be the man that rises to the occasion, however. He has netted three in the last four German encounters with La Albiceleste, so back penalty box poacher Klose for a goal anytime in 90 minutes at 15/8.
Low is expected to name the same XI that started the semi-final smashing of Brazil, so centre back Mats Hummels should shake off his reported struggles with tendonitis to play. The Borussia Dortmund defender has two tournament goals already, so be considered, perhaps to nick something from a set piece, at odds of 8/1 to score.
Messi is Argentina’s main man; there is simply no hiding from it. An enhanced wincast with him netting and Sabella steering his side to victory in 90 minutes is available at a boosted price of 9/2 (from 10/3), again with a maximum stake of £20. This is far better than odds of 6/5 on offer for Messi hitting the target anytime.
Angel Di Maria, who looks more likely to be on the bench after injury, and Gonzalo Higuain, like Messi, have recent goals against Germany to their names. The latter’s was the winner in a tense 1-0 encounter before the last World Cup. A repeat scoreline comes in at 15/2.
Higuain, whose strike against Belgium took Argentina through to the final four, is 2/1 for another goal anytime. Di Maria, meanwhile, looks a decent shout at 14/1 to net last, as Sabella is set to promote Sergio Aguero (15/8 in the anytime market) back into the XI ahead of him.
This final is really tough to call. Both nations have beaten the other to win world football’s richest prize in the last 30 years, so don’t expect Argentina to be as open as Brazil were, nor as cagey as their own display against the Dutch. Germany are worthy favourites, though, because of more midfield dynamism.
Muller’s knack of being in the right place at the right time, especially when up against an Argentina defence that will once again contain the much-maligned Martin Demichelis, really makes that boosted wincast Coral’s best bet on the World Cup final. So put £20 on British punters, and get behind the lesser of two evils!