Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

July 13, 2014

VELAZCO: Germany, Argentina set for World Cup final

Velazco, Smith offer their predictions for today's title match

One game remains.

Germany and Argentina meet at 3 p.m. today in the famed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in the World Cup final, and the lifetime of glory that comes with it.

The World Cup is a lot like the NCAA basketball tournament. At the beginning, some upstarts rise, some contenders tumble, and a few heavyweights look like potential champs. Then at the end, it’s usually one colossus vs. another in the championship game.

That’s the case today as three-time champion Germany squares off against two-time champion Argentina.

The last time Germany won was in 1990, when it was still West Germany. The West Germans beat Argentina in a frustrating game that marched on goal-less until a late penalty tilted the championship 1-0 in Germany’s favor.

The last time Argentina won was four years prior to that, in 1986 when the Argentines beat, who else, West Germany 3-2 in a thriller where each team scored twice in the second half.

These rivals have just a little history, and more will be made today when one lifts trophy.

After a good round of 16 and quarterfinals picking games, I was 0-2 in the semis and former Tribune staffer Scott Smith went 2-0. Now I have to pick between Scott’s semifinal winners for the championship. Scott and I are putting our necks out again for today’s final.

PEDRO: I want to pick Argentina to win because I’ll be rooting for the Argentines. But I’m not going to. The Germans are too efficient, too poised to pick against.

I don’t read very much into Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil. That was more about Brazil losing composure and burying itself than Germany actually being that good — no semifinalist is six goals better than another. But even if Brazil’s heads hadn’t gone down, Germany would have played well and scored at some point.

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