Updated 03:48 AM EST, Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Argentina vs. Germany 2014 World Cup: The Top Three Things to Watch For

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Germany's crushing defeat of Brazil was the most Tweeted sporting event ever. It sent shockwaves through the soccer community and solidified Die Manschaft's status as an international powerhouse.

They took advantage of Neymar and Thiago Silva's absence to put on a seven-goal exploitation on the host nation, thanks in large part to Miroslav Klose and his record breaking 16th World Cup goal.

If Argentina doesn't appear fazed by this heading into the championship match, they should be.

Since group played ended, La Albiceleste won all-too-close decisions over Switzerland and Belgium before the Dutch took them to the limit Wednesday.

Lionel Messi didn't have set-up man Angel di Maria by his side and the Netherlands exploited it.

The Argentinians' stagnant offense nearly cost them the semifinal game and will surely cost them the final if adjustments aren't made. Keeping in mind the drubbing Germany put on the host nation, they will need to seize what few scoring changes they receive.

A rivalry that began with the teams' splitting 1986 and 1990 tournament titles continued with a 4-0 German triumph in South Africa four years ago. Diego Maradona cemented his legacy in those games. Now it's Messi and Klose who have the opportunity.

Sunday's World Cup final will be a chance to see the best striker in the world take on the best all-around team in the world: Messi versus "the machine:" It's the perfect way to end an incredible tournament.

Here are three things to look for as the 2014 Brazil World Cup comes to an end.

Messi's supporting cast stepping up

The world's premier striker scored four goals in group play but was shut out in quarter and semifinal matches. Chances were limited against Holland where he drifted to the right too much, leaving him out of his comfort zone. Most importantly, Messi teammates didn't back him up.

Injuries left Di Maria out of Wednesday's game and forced forward Sergio Aguero to sub rather than start. Di Maria, who strained a thigh muscle in the win over Belgium, is working arduously in hope of giving his team a boost Sunday. He's Argentina's most creative player outside of Messi and distracts defends enough to give his teammate open shots.

Aguero's muscle strain left him off the starting lineup against the Dutch, but an 82nd minute substitution proved he's not fully recovered. When healthy, he's one of the most skilled players on the planet. Given Enzo Perez and Ezequiel Lavezzi's struggles, Argentina needs El Kun to come through.

Germany's ruthless midfield

Before Messi gets in striking range, he must go through a near-impenetrable German midfield. The team has gone 330 minutes without conceding a goal in the knockout stages, including two extra time periods.

Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, and Ozil first appeared together in the Round of 16 victory over France and have operated like a well-oiled machine since. They paved the way for relentless attacks on Brazilian defenders and never let captain David Luiz get into a rhythm.

Germany knows of Argentina's ineffective offense and won't have trouble stopping their deeper midfielders. If Messi has a scoring chance it's because Schweinsteiger missed his assignment.

Sergio Romero having a full workload

Argentina is a disciplined bunch that had trouble containing Arjen Robben. Now they face the tournament's second-leading scorer and the man who just passed Ronaldo for most goals in World Cup history.

Needless to say, goalkeeper Sergio Romero is going to have a long day.

The Monaco FC product has come up big in knockout stages, shutting out three opponents and saving two of four Netherlands penalty kicks. Granted, Robin van Persie wasn't much of a factor because of illness.

It will take a lot more to stop the Germans. The highest scoring team in the World Cup notched multiple goals from Schurrle and Kroos against Brazil. They aren't even their most potent strikers.

Mueller's 11th minute score left him within one of thing Colombia's Jaime Rodriguez for the lead. Meanwhile, Klose, the only player remaining from the 2002 finals squad, is one victory away from the signature moment in a storied career.   

Romero isn't named amongst the tournament's most prominent goalkeepers, but he's good enough to have his South American country in its final in 24 years.

The scoreless streak will end, and Germany will have an abundance of opportunities, but it's how Romero responds that determines whether Argentina can pull off the upset.

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