Five things to look out for in the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina
Published on Jul 11, 2014 7:59 PM
1) Could Germany be the first European nation to win the World Cup on South American soil?
Never before has a European country won a World Cup in South America. In the four previous editions held in the football-mad continent, the victors have all come from the region.
Uruguay were the first World Cup winners after defeating Argentina 4-2 on home soil in 1930. They won their second title when they beat hosts Brazil 2-1 in 1950.
In 1962, Brazil saw off the challenge of Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Chile before Argentina won their first title by seeing off the Netherlands 2-1 when they hosted the tournament in 1978.
But, that could very well change on Monday morning (Singapore time) when an in-form Germany take on Argentina in the final.
2) Third-time lucky for a European side in a final with South American opposition?
While Germany are favourites to see off Argentina and win their fourth World Cup due to their red-hot form in Brazil so far, the history of past finals involving a European and South American team does not bode well for them.
In nine previous finals contested by a South American side and a European team, the South Americans have won seven of them while the Europeans have triumphed just twice.
Germany contested three of these finals - two of them against Argentina - and won just once in 1990 as West Germany, ironically against their opponents on Monday morning.
Argentina have contested three of these finals as well, winning two of them against the Netherlands (1978) and West Germany (1986).
3) Mueller or Messi for the Golden Boot Award?
Colombian hot-shot James Rodriguez may be leading the World Cup scorers' chart right now with six goals but with his side out of the tournament, he can only win that accolade if his closest challengers - Germany's Thomas Mueller and Argentina's Lionel Messi - fire blanks in the final.
With five goals to his name, Mueller is just one effort away from matching Rodriguez while Messi is joint-third on the list with four strikes so far.
There is also an outside chance for Germany's Andre Schuerrle (three goals) to win the award in the final though he will need four goals, and the others not to score, to get to the top.
4) Goal fest or snooze fest? The highest-scoring attack take on the second-tightest defence
Having put a total of 17 goals past their six opponents en route to the World Cup final, Germany are the tournament's top scorers.
If you were hoping, however, for the final to be a goal fest like Die Mannschaft's 7-1 thrashing of Brazil in the semi-finals, brace yourself for the possibility of the exact opposite.
Not only are Argentina the lowest-scoring side among the other three semi-finalists with just seven goals, they also boast the tournament's joint-second tightest defence, conceding just three goals in six games.
5) A first final between two living popes
Coincidentally, this World Cup final pits Argentina-born Pope Francis, who's known to be a football fan, against his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was born in Germany.
This is the first final that will see two living popes support opposing teams but the Vatican has quelled hopes of an iconic photo after a spokesman said that the duo will probably not watch the game together.