Germany versus Argentina is a fitting match to cap one of the most memorable World Cups to date, with goals in abundance and champions falling at the first hurdle.
That is what it has come down to, with Sunday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup final match scheduled for the picturesque Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But the showpiece event is a stage for both sides to renew their rivalry on the world’s biggest stage, with FC Barcelona’s striker, Lionel Messi, the cynosure of all eyes.
Messi will have to emulate Argentina’s greatest-ever player, Diego Maradona, and lead his side to glory in his first World Cup final at the age of 27.
Maradona was at his very best in the 1986 showpiece, grabbing the headlines for both the “hand of God” and scoring one of the greatest goals in World Cup history against England.
In spite of not finding the back of the net in the final against West Germany, he was crucial to his side’s second and last World Cup crown till date.
At Italy 1990, however, the Germans got their revenge with Franz Beckenbauer leading the European powerhouse to a 1-0 win.
It was yet another close encounter between the two teams with just a solitary goal separating them, that being an 85th minute penalty kick at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
This time around, a tight contest is expected in Rio de Janeiro as Argentina’s Alejandro Sabella and Germany’s Joachim Loew face off.
Germany are bidding to win their fourth World Cup crown and will head into the game as slight favourites due to their exploits against host nation Brazil.
They will also be fresher, having put their semi-finals encounter to bed relatively early, while the Argentina-Netherlands semi-finals went into a penalty shootout after a grueling 120 minutes of football.
Sabella’s men may have less time to rest ahead of Sunday’s final, but they have a talented attacking line-up and it means anything can happen over 90 minutes.
But they may just have to be weary of the organised German machine, which have proven they can wreak havoc to even the toughest of opponents at any time.
However, Germany have been consistent over the last four World Cups, even though they have failed to win the title since 1990.
They will therefore be itching to set the records straight against Argentina.
Both sides have met each other six times at the FIFA World Cup with Germany winning four times and drawing once and losing once.
However, a defining fact in this encounter is that South Africa 2010 saw Germany beat the South Americans 4-0 in a quarter-final encounter.
Should they triumph again, Germany will be making history as the first-ever European side to win a World Cup on Latin American soil.
In spite their annihilation of the hosts, native support in Brazil is likely to be behind “Die Mannschaft” in favour of Brazil’s nearest and bitterest rivals, Argentina.
However, whichever way it goes at the Maracana on Sunday, both sides’ third World Cup finals clash will not fail to excite football fans all around the world.