Germany and Argentina will revive memories of the World Cup finals gone by at the Maracana on Sunday, with both sides remembering the history of the fixture with mixed emotions.
Both their last World Cup triumphs came against each other, with Germany crowned champions after defeating the Argentines in 1990, while the 1986 final being the last time the South Americans won the trophy after edging West Germany in Mexico.
Joachim Loew’s men have had the upper hand in their most recent World Cup contests, defeating Argentina on penalties on home soil in 2006, before thumping Maradona’s men 4-0 in South Africa.
Should they triumph at the Maracana, Germany will make history as the first ever European side to win a World Cup on Latin American soil. Despite their annhilation of the hosts, native support in Brazil is likely to be behind Die Mannschaft in favour of Brazil’s nearest and bitterest rivals.
Head to Heads
Argentina have the slight edge in all matches played between the two sides, both putting 28 goals past each other.
Argentina wins: 9
Goals for: 28
Germany wins: 6
Goals for: 28
Current FIFA Rankings
Top Scorers at this World Cup
Germany: Thomas Muller (5)
Argentina: Lionel Messi (4)
Argentina have only scored eight goals in the run up to the final, compared to Germany’s 17. After their drubbing of the hosts, the Germans are now the highest scorers in World Cup history with 223 goals, overtaking Brazil.
The Argentines have however conceded no goals in knockout stages of the competition and only three in total during the championships.
Argentina 3-2 West Germany World Cup final Mexico 1986:
In a tournament forever remembered as the Maradona show, Germany fell two-nil behind in Mexico City early in the second half. The Germans, managed by Franz Beckenbauer, pegged it back to 2-2, with goals from Karl-Heinz Rummennigge and Rudi Voller with less than 10 minutes to play. The contest looked to be going into extra time before one moment of brilliance from an otherwise quiet Maradona made the winning goal.
El Diego played an inch-perfect through ball to Jorge Burruchaga who rushed towards goal and shot under German stopper Schumacher to make it 3-2 in the dying embers of the game. It was West Germany’s second consecutive World Cup final defeat and Argentina’s last triumph in the competition.
Argentina 0-1 West Germany World final Italy 1990: The two sides met in the following World Cup in an equally tight affair at the Stadio Olympico. This time the Germans, who
were making their third consecutive appearance in the final, enacted revenge in a game considered to be one of the worst World Cup final spectacles ever.
Following the end of the Berlin wall, the newly united Germany would also be playing their final tournament as West Germany and were favourites ahead of the clash.
Argentine Pedro Monzón became the first man to have ever been sent of in a World Cup final after a challenge on Jurgen Klinsmann, in a turgid match that had been devoid of any real quality. The breakthrough came five minutes before the end when Rudi Voller was challenged in the box and up stepped defender Andreas Brehme to despatch the spot-kick.
It was enough for captain Lothar Matthäus to lift the trophy in what is still Germany’s last World Cup final win.
Who to Watch
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi, who at the age of 27, will be playing in his first World Cup final. Argentines will be hoping that the greatest player of his generation will be able to summon the spirit of Diego Maradona and honour the memory of recently deceased Alfredo Di Stefano by leading them to victory on the soil of their bitterest rivals.
by Mehreen Khan, UK Telegraph