A month ago, I wrote a post for The Conversation here in Australia. It was titled World Cup 2014 Predictions: who will take the title?
I indicated that many of the predictions pre-World Cup pointed to a Brazil v Argentina World Cup Final.
Germany’s success against Brazil gave me a new favourite to consider.
I wrote about the relative merits of Germany and Argentina in another post for The Conversation.
This evening I have read Simon Gleave and Infostrada’s take on the Final. They observe:
The 2014 World Cup final is impossible to call on the basis of the Infostrada Sports Forecast model which assesses Argentina’s chance as 49.97% and Germany’s as 50.03% to be World Champion. These odds fittingly make the World Cup final the most closely matched fixture of the 64 played in this tournament.
— Gracenote Live (@GracenoteLive) July 13, 2014
Germany and Argentina were ranked third and fourth respectively in the World Football Elo Ratings coming into the World Cup. They were separated by just 57 ratings points.
Germany is one of nine teams at the World Cup that has scored first against a higher Elo Ratings team and won (in their semi-final against Brazil). I see this as an important indicator of performance potential.
My feeling is that the greater experience of the German team (three players with over 100 international caps) is a very telling factor. I think the 260 international caps difference between the two starting teams in their respective semi-finals is an important consideration. I am mindful too that Germany beat Argentina in the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup (there are 9 German players from that game and 8 Argentinian players in the 2014 Final).
The converging of the teams for me comes about if Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano combine to create a game on Argentina’s terms.
On balance, I do think this is Germany’s Final.
I am staying up to see the outcome early morning Australian time (after a warm up with a mountain stage of the Tour de France).