2014 FIFA World Cup: Argentina, Germany battle for title glory as Brazil blanked again
Zee Media Bureau/Rajdeep Saha
New Delhi: If the 7-1 battering by Germany exposed Brazil`s shallowness, the 3-0 loss against Netherlands for the third place put them further down in a void. A team crumbled in its home turf, in front of its native fans amidst political and economical tensions over billions of money spent for the World Cup.
Before Sunday`s ultimate showdown between Germany and Argentina, Netherlands performed brilliantly to sign off as a team still unbeaten in the full 90 minutes in the tournament.
Brazil started the game against Netherlands, hoping to salvage some pride after Tuesday`s shocker. But for the hosts, the game was already lost even before it started. The pain of the 7-1 loss against Germany looked so heavily inflicted that the wounds further opened up against Louis van Gaal`s side. Goals from Robin van Persie, Daley Blind and Georginio Wijnaldum condemned Brazil to back-to-back defeats on home soil for the first time since 1940.
The thought of a redemption was washed away by the Dutch and the hosts crumbled under pressure. The fans came out in large numbers to support their team and search for some relief after Tuesday`s heartbreak but there was none in store for them. Brazil lacked the vigour in the entire tournament and were lucky enough to reach the last four. Their approach towards big teams were regarded as the key and in both matches they failed to create any impact. Even Neymar, who was sitting on the sidelines, couldn`t have saved Brazil the blushes. In the larger context, Germany and the Netherlands were huge for the hosts and they have been the best two teams in Rio.
On the other hand, Sunday is set for the biggest encounter between European and South American power houses. Germany go in as favourites and as the most consistent team in recent years, they will hope to break the trophy jinx that has been eluding them for 24 years.
Where Joachim Loew`s team has performed brilliantly on every front in a collective manner, Argentina have dug out victories. The clash offers a plenty of footballing brilliance and it will put forward a tie between the best players in the world.
Where Lionel Messi would target a trophy that hasn`t been in his cabinet, the likes of German workaholics - such as Tomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos - will come out to continue Europe`s domination at the world stage.
The German army, which looks a notch above their rivals, will face an experienced Argentina side and the fans should expect an intense grueling session at the Estadio do Maracana, in Rio De Janeiro.