World Cup: Battle of the stalwarts in tonight's Germany vs Argentina clash

Jul 13, 2014, 01:44 IST | A Correspondent

These men can turn tonight's FIFA World Cup final on its head at the legendary Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Here's our special preview on what you need to know about tonight's finale


1.Thomas Mueller
Thomas Mueller
The German hitman relishes playing on the big stage, having scored 10 goals in the two World Cups he has played in so far. At only 24, he is already being tipped to break his strike partner Miroslav Klose's record of most goals in the World Cup. Tonight, however, he will have another piece of glory in sight — the Golden Boot, which he also won last time around in South Africa.
Matches: 6
Goals: 5
Assists: 3
Shots: 16
Attempts on target: 62.5%
Passes completed: 170
Distance covered: 68.8 km
Man of the match: 2

2. Philipp Lahm
Philipp Lahm

Germany's captain has put in good performances even when he was playing in an unfamiliar position as a defensive midfielder in the first few games. However, an injury to right-back Shkodran Mustafi meant Lahm was shifted back to his regular position, which helped Germany regain solidity at the back.
Matches: 6
Assists: 2
Recovered balls: 35
Passes completed: 458
Passes completion rate: 86.6%
Distance covered: 67.3 km
Yellow cards: 1
Man of the match: 0

3. Manuel Neuer
Manuel Neuer

The goalkeeper has almost been playing as a sweeper for the Germans at the World Cup and has made some tackles that even the best defenders will envy. His tactical awareness has even led coach Loew to claim that Neuer could be a good midfielder. But it is his goalkeeping prowess that has helped Germany concede only four goals in the tournament.
Matches: 6
Attempted clearances: 7
Saves: 25
Save rate: 86.2%
Passes completed: 202
Passes completion rate: 81.1%
Distance covered: 31.5 km
Man of the match: 0

Joachim Loew
We were shocked by our goals and it made the game easier for us. Everyone did their jobs incredibly well and with total concentration. A bit of humility would also be very good and we need to be careful that we stay concentrated on Sunday
— Joachim Loew 


1. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi
He is a four-time World Player of the Year winner. However, the one thing that has always been held against him is his inability to come good for Argentina (before the 2014 World Cup, he had just scored once for the national team in the showpiece event). A month later, he has erased all those question marks by scoring four goals besides an assist in Brazil and will be keen to lift the World Cup trophy tonight.
Matches: 6
Goals: 4
Assists: 1
Shots: 18
Attempts on target: 55.6%
Passes completed: 214
Distance covered: 51.9 km
Man of the match: 4

2. Javier Mascherano
Javier Mascherano

In his third (and possibly last) World Cup, Mascherano has been the defensive bedrock for Argentina. Part of that is due to the fact that he is playing in his preferred position as a defensive midfielder rather than playing as a centre-back like he does with Barcelona. His best game arguably came against the Netherlands when apart from his defensive duties, he also tried to create opportunities for Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Matches: 6
Passes completed: 478
Pass completion rate: 86.6%
Recovered balls: 42
Tackles: 18
Distance covered: 67.2 km
Yellow cards: 0
Man of the match: 0

3. Gonzalo Higuain
Gonzalo Higuain

He has scored just once in this tournament but on his day he can be unstoppable. The Germans will do well not to focus only on Lionel Messi tonight as Higuain has the knack for converting even half-chances into glorious goals, like his half-volley against Belgium in the quarter-finals. Having had a quiet tournament so far, he will be itching to make an impact.
Matches: 6
Goals: 1
Assists: 1
Shots: 11
Attempts on target: 54.5%
Passes completed: 104
Distance covered: 57.4 km
Man of the match: 1

Alejandro Sabella
Some of our players are sore, beaten, tired — the results of a war, so to speak. We have a final to play, with one day less to prepare and against a team like Germany, but with work, humility and seriousness, we'll do all we can to make it all the way to the top.
— Alejandro Sabella 

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