*Except Brazil as the host nation - the hosting nation gets to opt out of all qualifying matches.
Argentina & Messi vs The German Machine.
I know some of you are curious as to who I am picking, so here is a synopsis of what I think.
Neither team has lost a match this tournament. Germany have been good at their worst, and excellent at their best, most of which has been since the start of the knock out rounds. Whereas Argentina has been consistent, but not as compelling as I think they should have been or as good as I know they can be. They have won all of their games by a single goal. And Germany, all I need to say on the goal scoring/winning topic is one word........Brazil. And ok, maybe one more......Portugal.
The German National team has had the same coach for 3 WC cycles now. The first being an assistant to our Juergen Klinsmann. Almost all of the players play in the Bundesliga (The German Top Flight league) and more specifically, they play on the two best teams. So when it comes to playing with teammates, think about this. You play for your club in European leagues 9 months of the year. 38 league games and some tournaments spread in. During league breaks is when the Internationals will then come together for maybe a week, a couple training sessions and a match. It's not a lot of time. The Argentina players are more spread out across a lot of leagues, so they don't play together as much as the Germans do but they have great talent on this team.
I wasn't kidding when I said the machine of Germany. They all have a vested interest and understand the concept of team and unity above individualism. And they play like it. They are too solidified as a unit. They have the desire, determination and they have been on fire. Germany is a 3x World Cup champion and they have reached 10 of the last 13 semifinals. Argentina a 2x champion. But then there is Messi. A 4 time winner of the Balloon D'Or award = The World's Best Player. And did I mention he just turned 27. At the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. However, FC Barcelona scouted him and agreed to pay for his medical bills and to move his family if he signed with them. He has been playing for them ever since and achieved a lot of trophies as a result. At 5"6 he is an example that you don't have to physically be the biggest to succeed in this sport.
I want Argentina to win. Why? 2 reasons.....
1. Raise your hand if you feel passionately about Germans. Yeah that's what I thought.
2. I want Messi to get the Maradonna stigma off his back. I want the world to move on from Maradonna. Why? Because he is a poor example of a quality human being. Because he was a cheater, in more ways than one. Because he thinks he is god. He is the antithesis of Messi. Messi is a humble person. Grateful for all that has been given to him and all that he has achieved. He recently said he would rather win a World Cup than the Baloon D'Or, because it's something as a youngster you dream about. It's a team award, not a personal one. Messi, the guy who agreed to be on the cover of ESPN before the World Cup.....for free. For more on Maradonna, Wikipedia him, or google his name with words as "hand of god" "coke" "tax evasion" etc. But I think you get the point.
With that said, I think Germany IS going to win. Only if Messi has the game of his life, and Argentina find a way to contain the German offense will Argentina pull this out.
3-1 Germany is my prediction. But go Argentina and Lionel Messi.