Argentina-Germany final puts Brazilians in tough spot

Argentina-Germany final puts Brazilians in tough spot

Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

July 8, 2014; Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL; Brazil players David Luiz (4) and Luiz Gustavo (right) react after the semifinal match against Germany in the 2014 World Cup at Mineirao Stadium.

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by NANCY ARMOUR / USA TODAY SPORTS

KING5.com

Posted on July 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 10 at 9:50 AM

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Poor Brazil.

Still reeling from the demoralizing 7-1 loss to Germany that ended its World Cup hopes, the hosts took another punch to the gut Wednesday night when Argentina advanced to the final. Anybody would have been bad. But Argentina? That’s Brazil’s fiercest rival.

Don’t think the Argentine fans weren’t rubbing it in after the Albiceleste beat the Netherlands on penalty kicks, either. Fans at the Itaquerao co-opted one of Brazil’s famed songs, and at one point were chanting about being in Brazil’s house.

“We made it to the final and we have been able to avoid playing against Brazil,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said. “But now we have to play Germany.”

And Argentina is going to have to play much better in Sunday’s final than its ragged, plodding effort against the Dutch.

Lionel Messi was a non-factor, and Argentina managed a whopping five shots on goal. That matched the number of goals Germany had — at halftime.

It wasn’t that Argentina didn’t have chances. It did. But just as in previous games in the tournament, it failed to make the most of them and found itself scrambling to win. Germany, on the other hand, appears to be hitting its stride after some inconsistencies early on.

It was ruthlessly efficient against Brazil, with a fluid attack and a stingy defense.

It also will have the advantage of rest. In addition to the extra day it had courtesy of the schedule, Germany didn’t have to work that hard in the second half of its blowout of Brazil while Argentina played 120 minutes.

“We have a final to play and, obviously, with one day less and a team such as Germany,” Sabella said. “But we’ll do everything possible to make it to the top.

“We have to rest, think and recover. Enjoy a bit what these players deserve and we’ll see,” Sabella said. “We’ll see Sunday.”

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