World Cup: 1986 & ’90 finalists to decide Brazil 2014 title

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Updated: July 10, 2014

Over the next three days, The Inside Word will be providing regular updates relating to the World Cup Final between Germany and Argentina. A reminder to all football fans that the game is scheduled to be played one hour earlier than the quarter-finals and semi-finals (4pm local time, 5am AET).

 

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero (pictured) played under Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal while at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero (pictured) played under Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal while at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar

Upcoming games

Third-place playoff: Brazil v Netherlands; Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil; Sunday, July 13, 6am

Final: Germany v Argentina; Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil; Monday, July 14, 5am

 

Well, it’s not exactly the final we expected but we’re still hoping that Germany and Argentina put on a show worthy of a World Cup final when they clash at the Maracana in Rio De Janeiro on Sunday (Monday morning AET). Normal service was restored in yesterday’s second semi-final as Argentina and the Netherlands played out a fairly pedestrian 120 minutes before the game went to penalties. Shortly into extra-time, Klaas-Jan Huntelaaar replaced Robin van Persie. It was Louis van Gaal’s third substitution, eliminating the possibility of quarter-final saviour Tim Krul entering the game for the subsequent penalty shootout. We’re reliably informed that no Dutch player was prepared to take the first penalty before Ron Vlaar, who’d superbly defended Lionel Messi over the preceding two hours, finally stepped up. His shot was saved, with Argentina keeper Sergio Romero also batting away the spot-kick of Wesley Sneijder to send Argentina to the final.

 

Louis Van Gaal lets his feelings known regarding the third-place playoff against Brazil

Louis Van Gaal lets his feelings known regarding the third-place playoff against Brazil

First look at … Brazil v Netherlands

We’d normally give the third-placed playoff a big miss. It’s a completely meaningless game that is normally treated accordingly by the participants. But this one is a bit different. The Brazilian nation has been embarrassed on the global stage after its 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany in the semi-final. Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has been making all the right noises that his side will take this match seriously as a platform to exorcise the demons of the equal biggest loss in Brazilian football history. But we’ll be closely looking for signs as to the mental state of the Brazilian players who’ll have barely processed the implications of that mammoth defeat. Meanwhile, Louis Van Gaal has already declared that the third-placed playoff is a hollow exercise and it’s reasonable to expect that his players will adopt a similar approach. Our lean at this stage is to a high-scoring affair with the value certainly on the side of the Brazilians.

 

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First look at … Germany v Argentina

It’s back to the future as the 1986 and 1990 finalists return to the game’s biggest stage. Our first impression is that Argentina will not go the way of Brazil and look good value. Germany deserve the praise that’s been heaped upon them, but Brazil made a significant contribution to the scoreline once the rot had set in. Many don’t realise that Argentina too had to overcome an emotional lead-up to their semi-final. Jorge Lopez, a popular reporter who was close to Lionel Messi, was killed in a car-crash the night before the game. Argentinian football legend Alfredo Di Stefano had died two days earlier. Argentina, as they did against the Dutch, will sit deep. There will be no space behind Marcos Rojo for Thomas Muller to exploit. Martin Demichelis will have few problems countering the aerial ability of Miroslav Klose. Mesut Ozil may struggle to contain Pablo Zabaleta. The battle between Toni Kroos and Mascherano will be fascinating.

 

Most recent results: 1-0-1, +0.58 units; total record: 27-1-18, +25.71 units

Netherlands v Argentina TO QUALIFY (1.5 units @ $1.72) WIN

Netherlands v Argentina – correct score 0-1 (0.5 units @ $7.00) LOSE (0-0)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Sportingbet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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