Adjunct Professor of Sport Studies, UC-RISE, University of Canberra
Keith Lyons does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
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After four weeks, we’re finally at the pointy end of the 2014 World Cup. Germany and Argentina meet in the final in the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro this weekend.
Germany is riding high after thrashing Brazil 7-1, while Argentina scraped through to the final on penalties.
Germany came into the tournament ranked second in the FIFA rankings, three positions higher than Argentina. And in the world football Elo ratings, Germany was ranked third, one higher than Argentina.
Despite this, it would seem Argentina has a home (or at least, continent) advantage. No European team has won a World Cup in South America in four attempts (the last opportunity was in 1978).
So let’s compare the two teams and weigh up the data: who’s likely to triumph on Sunday?
World Cup finals experience
Germany has won three of its eight World Cup finals (1954, 1974, 1990) and Argentina two of its five (1978, 1986).
The teams have met 15 times prior to this final. Argentina has won nine times, Germany six.
They’re most recent meeting was in the 2010 World Cup when Germany defeated Argentina 4-0 in the quarter final.
They have played each other in two World Cup finals:
Argentina won 3-2 in 1986 in Mexico
Germany won four years later in Italy, 1-0. Argentina ended that final with just nine players after Pedro Monzon and Gustavo Dezotti became the first players to be sent off in a World Cup final. It was the first time too a team had not scored in a World Cup final.
Performance at this World Cup
Germany is the leading goalscorer at this World Cup with 17 goals to Argentina’s eight. Some 14 of Germany’s goals were scored from open play.