2014 FIFA World Cup: Germany ready for Argentina, Brazil chase third
Rio de Janeiro: Germany and Argentina were plotting for the the World Cup final Friday as Brazil prepared for an unwanted third place play-off with the Netherlands.
With just over 48 hours to go before Sunday`s showpiece at the Maracana Stadium, both finalists were at their respective base camps wrapping up preparing to head to Rio de Janeiro.
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 Friday.
German team manager Oliver Bierhoff said he had warned his 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.
"It will be a different game compared to the semi-final, they defend deep, leave little space to run into and wait for (Lionel) Messi to show a moment of magic," said Bierhoff.
"We have to play our own game, run the extra mile and not give them the space they need."
Argentina trained behind closed doors on Friday as they readied to head for Rio, where an estimated army of 100,000 Argentine fans have travelled ahead of Sunday`s clash.
A vast security blanket comprising some 26,000 police and soldiers will be deployed across the city, Brazil`s justice minister said.
Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said the size of the Argentine contingent in the city had not influenced the size of the force being mobilised.
On Saturday, Brazil and the Netherlands will contest the third-place play-off in Brasilia, with both teams struggling to raise their spirits after disappointing semi-final losses.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal condemned the unpopular fixture after his team were beaten on penalties by Argentina on Wednesday.
"I think this match should never be played," van Gaal told reporters. "I`ve been saying this for 10 years. But we`ll just have to play this match.
However on Friday the 62-year-old was putting a brave face on the game.
"We are going to do everything to finish third," he told the pre-match press conference in Brasilia.
"We want to leave the World Cup unbeaten, something a Dutch side has never achieved."
Brazilian fullback Daniel Alves was underwhelmed by the fixture however.
"The important thing is first place. Nothing else matters," said the right-back.
Meanwhile on Friday, the Vatican called for a truce in wars around the globe during Sunday`s final, taking to social media with the hashtag #pauseforpeace as a conflict in the Gaza Strip escalates and killings continue in Ukraine.
"Adherents are asking for a moment of silence around the Sunday, July 13 match to remember those stricken by wars and unrest worldwide," the Vatican`s Pontifical Council for Culture said in a statement.
The statement said that some people were asking for a moment of silence at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro itself, although there has been no official announcement on this from FIFA.
"A still, small voice of silence," Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican`s culture minister, said in a statement.