Another World Cup has come and almost gone, with just Germany and Argentina left standing and playing on Sunday for the golden trophy. Before that there is the small matter of the hosts Brazil collecting their shattered team and making a token appearance against the Netherlands today for third place.
Third Place Match
Brazil vs Netherlands
Where - Estadio Nacional, Brasilia
When - 4:00pm EST / 9:00pm BST
TV Info - Live Soccer TV
The hosts were hoping to finally put to rest the horror of the Maracanazo when they last hosted the tournament in 1950 and lost to Uruguay. Instead they managed to create a new nightmare that put that fiasco to shame with Tuesday's Mineirãzo.Third place matches in recent history have been open, free-flowing affairs and we expect if Brazil can pull themselves together we might actually have a football game today.
It will be interesting to see if the returning Thiago Silva can marshal his troops to put up a semblance of a good effort. Even more interesting will be if the fans choose to come out and show support to the team or instead spend the ninety minutes raining insults down on the Seleção. The last time these two teams met in a competitive game was the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal when Felipe Melo had a meltdown leading to the Dutch winning 2-1.
Manager Louis Van Gaal will be in charge for his last game before taking up coaching duties at Manchester United. If he chooses to field Swansea City goalie Michel Vorm, the Dutch will have used all 23 players in their World Cup squad, a unique distinction never done before.
Germany vs Argentina
Where - Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro
When - 3:00pm EST / 8:00pm BST
TV Info - Live Soccer TV
This will be the third time these two sides have met in the final, with both teams having recorded a win each previously. These usually tend to be bad-tempered affairs and the battle for midfield supremacy should be a thing to watch tomorrow. Argentina would do well to remember being dismantled 4-0 in the quarter finals of the last tournament by the Germans, much like the hosts Brazil were eviscerated in the semis.
Will Lionel Messi be able to cement his reputation as one of the greatest players to have played the game by winning the Cup? Or will Germany be able to crown this golden generation of players and send off World Cup career top scorer Miroslav Klose with a winners' medal? Thomas Mueller will also be chasing his second consecutive World Cup Golden Boot award, but needs two goals to overtake Colombian James Rodriguez.
No European team has ever won a World Cup played on the American continent. Whatever the cause, climate, fan support or anything else, Germany might be well-placed to change that. They built a multi-million dollar training complex to acclimatize the team and even overcame the losses of three key players in the buildup to the tourney to get to the final. Plus they will have all the support they need from the Brazilians as the home fans would much rather just about any other team in the world wins the Cup than their southern neighbors from Argentina.
Join us during the two games and share your thoughts and observations in the comments below!