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Germany favored in WC Final

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Germany vs. Argentina

Kickoff: Sunday, 3:00 p.m. EDT
Venue: Estadio Maracana
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

[...] Line:
Germany +110, Argentina +265, Tie after Regulation +235
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +157, Under -178)

After humiliating host Brazil in the semifinals, Germany looks to finish off its World Cup run with a victory over Argentina in the championship match on Sunday in Rio.

Both of these nations have won multiple World Cup titles, with each one beating the other in the finals. Germany won the tournament in 1954, 1974 and 1990 when they outlasted Argentina 1-0 in the last game. The Maracana hoisted the Cup in 1978 and 1986 after defeating the Germans 3-2 in the championship.

But that was the only time Argentina has ever beaten Germany in World Cup play, as the Germans hold a 4-1-1 advantage over the Maracana.

In all meetings, Argentina has nine wins to Germany's six wins, with both countries scoring exactly 28 goals against one another.

Germany is the favorite in this third championship meeting after they dismantled Brazil 7-1 in the semifinals.
Argentina is a perfect 6-0-0 in the World Cup, but won each of its first five matches by one goal, before needing penalty kicks to decide a 0-0 draw with the Netherlands in the semifinal round.

The one key injury in this match is Argentina starting midfielder Angel di Maria, who is 'doubtful' to play due to a thigh injury he sustained in the quarterfinals that kept him off the field in the semifinal win.

Germany started off its World Cup with 4-0 victory against Portugal, but struggled a bit in the next few games where they tied Ghana 2-2, barely beat the U.S. 1-0, survived Algeria 2-1 and held off France 1-0.

But in the semifinal round, the Germans wasted no time finding the back of the net versus Brazil, scoring five times in the first 29 minutes. Germany actually lost possession for the first time in the entire tournament by a slim 51% to 49% margin, but put 12 of its 14 shots on goal.

But Brazil had more total shots (18) and shots on goal (13), forcing star keeper Manuel Neuer to make 12 saves. Neuer has allowed a mere four goals over six matches in this World Cup.

In the six tournament games, Germany has scored 17 goals on 64 shots on target, and in the past four contests, Germany has fired 64 total shots, with 49 going on goal (77%). The team has been very disciplined as well, committed only 71 fouls (11.8 per match) with four yellow cards for the entire tournament.

Thomas Muller has been the leading goal scorer for the Germans during Cup play with five tallies. Andre Schurrle has three goals, while Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Miroslav Klose have each scored twice. Klose's goal at the 23rd-minute mark versus Brazil set the all-time Cup record for goals with 16.

The Maracana have scored a total of eight goals, with superstar Lionel Messi contributing four of those tallies and also an assist. The other key goals for Argentina during Cup play have been scored by Marcos Rojo (game-winner versus Nigeria) and Gonzalo Higuain (lone quarterfinal goal).

Although Argentina has not dominated in this tournament as many experts expected they would versus a perceived weak schedule, before losing possession 53% to 47% versus the Dutch, they won possession in the first five matches with 55% against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a whopping 70% versus Iran, 57% against Nigeria, 61% versus the Swiss and a slight 51% advantage against Belgium.

The Maracana have also fired 47 shots in the knockout stage with 34 going on goal (72%). But against the Netherlands, they took only eight shots and had as many offsides called against them as corner kicks (4 each). But after generating only two corner-kick chances in their World Cup opener, they have produced 42 corner kicks over the past five contests, totaling 20 in the three knockout-stage wins.

The Maracana played a very clean tournament in group play with only 24 total fouls and one yellow card (Rojo). However, in the knockout stage, they have been whistled for 40 fouls, including five yellow cards (Rojo, di Maria, midfielder Lucas Biglia and defenders Ezequiel Garay and Martin Demichelis). Rojo was not allowed to play in the quarterfinals because of his two yellow cards, but he was able to help his team win its semifinal match.

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